Defensive talent was drafted early and often throughout the 2023 NFL Draft. More than half (17) of the 31 first-round selections occurred on the defensive side of the ball. High-level pass rushers like Will Anderson Jr. and Tyree Wilson were among the picks, which makes the impending race for Defensive Rookie of the Year an intriguing one. Devon Witherspoon and Jalen Carter round out some never-too-early candidates.
We’re eagerly anticipating the opportunity to witness how these defensive studs acclimate to their new surroundings. Taking landing spots into consideration, the NFL futures prop betting landscape for the “2023 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year” is officially starting to take shape. FanDuel doesn’t waste any time, and they’ve already updated the exciting odds. The top 10 shakes out as follows:
- Will Anderson Jr. (+350)
- Jalen Carter (+600)
- Tyree Wilson (+750)
- Christian Gonzalez (+1100)
- Devon Witherspoon (+1100)
- Lukas Van Ness (+1400)
- Emmanuel Forbes (+1700)
- Jack Campbell (+1800)
- Felix Anudike-Uzomah (+1800)
- Deonte Banks (+2000)
THE FAVORITE & MY PICK: WILL ANDERSON JR.
The first defensive player selected was arguably the best overall prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Houston Texans traded up to No. 3 in order to draft Alabama EDGE Will Anderson Jr. just one pick after securing C.J. Stroud as their quarterback of the future.
Anderson is the complete package as a quarterback hunter. Anderson’s rare combination of speed and strength gives him a unique arsenal to defeat would-be blockers with. Anderson projects as a double-digit sack artist on an annual basis.
The landing spot was perfect for Anderson, who will play for an excellent defensive-minded head coach in DeMeco Ryans. Coach Ryans helped develop a slew of pass rushers in San Francisco. He’ll do the same for Anderson.
A WORTHY NO. 1 CONTENDER: JALEN CARTER
Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter was once expected to be in contention for the top overall selection. Alleged off-field concerns eventually arrived to derail Carter’s pre-draft stock. The defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles took advantage of Carter’s draft-day slide by trading up one overall to No. 9 to ensure Carter’s services.
Carter is joining an Eagles defensive line that recorded a historic 70.0 sacks last season. Changes are underway, including the departures of Javon Hargrave and Ndamukong Suh. There’s still plenty of talent in Philadelphia, and Carter qualifies as a like-for-like replacement for Hargrave, who led all Eagles interior pass rushers with 11.0 quarterback takedowns. Carter will be playing next to a familiar face in the run-stuffing Jordan Davis, whose presence should allow Carter to focus on terrorizing opposing quarterbacks.
DON’T SLEEP ON: JACK CAMPBELL
The Detroit Lions cast positional value aside when they drafted former Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell with the No. 18 overall selection in the first round. Few are questioning the immediate impact, however. Campbell should slot right into Detroit’s front seven behind talents like Aidan Hutchinson.
Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn has a clearly-defined role for Campbell in mind. He’ll play next to Alex Anzalone, a veteran that should help Campbell acclimate rather quickly. A tackling machine, Campbell is an underrated candidate to post 175-plus tackles as a rookie. That would place Campbell in league-leading territory. It makes Campbell a tempting value play at +1800.
NFL & CFB Betting
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