TDN's 2021 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Is...

NFL DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR VOTING

While we are still a few weeks away from the NFL unveiling its official award winners for the 2021 season, we here at The Draft Network feel like there’s no need to wait. The regular season has concluded and the final resumes for players and coaches have been submitted. Let’s pick some winners!

The TDN staff put together their ballots for MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, and Coach of the Year. The Offensive Player of the Year award was intentionally omitted to make the MVP race a little more interesting. More than a dozen TDN scouts and writers submitted their ballots listing the top five players/coaches for each category. First-place votes received five points, second-place votes received four points, and so on and so forth. Tie-breakers were decided in the following order: Number of first-place votes, number of ballot appearances, number of second-place votes.

Let’s get to it! Below, you will see the list of every player who received at least one vote from a TDN staff member. Here is how the voting shook out for Defensive Rookie of the Year, starting with our winner.

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points
Micah Parsons 13 - - - - 65
Patrick Surtain II - 9 4 - - 48
Jevon Holland - 4 2 1 1 25
Odafe Oweh - - 2 3 2 14
J. Owusu-Koramoah - - 2 3 1 13
Jaelan Phillips - - 1 2 1 8
Nick Bolton - - - 2 2 6
Asante Samuel Jr. - - 1 - 2 5
Ernest Jones - - 1 - - 3
Nate Hobbs - - - - 2 2
Christian Barmore - - - 1 - 2
Jamin Davis - - - 1 - 2
Eric Stokes - - - - 1 1
Tre'Von Moehrig - - - - 1 1

2021 NFL DROY: Micah Parsons

Key Stats: 13.0 sacks, 30 QB hits, 3 forced fumbles, 84 total tackles

Why Micah Parsons Deserved To Be DROY

Ryan Fowler: Parsons.

(Grand Canyon)

Everyone else.

An award he was favored to win before he ever strapped up for the Cowboys, Parsons is in the conversation for DPOY, let alone DROY. He’s been outstanding all year long whether he’s rushing the passer, filling in the run as a middle linebacker, or out in space covering pass-catchers. One of the most positional-versatile defenders in football, he could win multiple DPOY awards before he hangs ‘em up for good. 

Justin Melo: You'd be hard-pressed to recall the last time this race was so one-sided. Cowboys do-it-all defender Micah Parsons has hit the ground running in an extremely impressive fashion. The former Penn State linebacker has been so effective in 2021 that he's receiving legitimate shouts to earn the Defensive Player of the Year honor. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Parsons has recorded an astounding 13 sacks despite lacking previous experience as a pure pass rusher. The Cowboys have experienced an exciting defensive turnaround under the tutelage of defensive coordinator (and head coaching candidate) Dan Quinn, and Parsons' versatile skill set has served as a major contributing factor and will continue to do so throughout the NFL playoffs.

Jack McKessy: I mean… who else, right? Parsons was a total animal this season with 13 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, and 30 QB hits. His sack count put him at sixth among all NFL defenders this season and would have been good enough for fourth in 2020. No rookie defender was even close to as productive (and destructive) as Parsons was this season. He’ll get some love for the Defensive Player of the Year award as well, and it’s well deserved.

Dissenting Opinion(s)

None. Parsons was the unanimous selection to be this season's Defensive Rookie of the Year.