Which Incoming Prospect Will Win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2024?

Zack Bussiere
Zack Bussiere@ZackBussiere
Which Incoming Prospect Will Win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2024?

After months of waiting, the 2024 NFL Draft is now just days away!

We may not know where each rookie is going to be playing just yet, but we can begin to examine the impact they could have in their first season in the NFL.

Let's take a look at the current NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds from FanDuel Sportsbook and examine where the front-runners stand ahead of Friday's draft.

Here is a list of the top-15 rookies with a breakdown of the recent history of the award and top five front-runners for 2024.

AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year 2024-25
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds
Laiatu Latu+700
Dallas Turner+850
Jared Verse+850
Quinyon Mitchell+1000
Terrion Arnold+1200
Byron Murphy+1600
Cooper DeJean+1600
View Full Table

NFL Betting

2024 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Recent Winners

Over the last decade, the ROTY has been awarded to five different positions. Defensive End (3), Cornerback (3), Outside Linebacker (2), Defensive Lineman (1), and Defensive Tackle (1). Team success is also, somewhat, important. The winner of the award over the last 10 seasons has averaged 9.2 wins. Four winners have come from a team with a losing record compared to six with a winning record, and only three have come from a team that did not make the playoffs that season. Landing spot is important, especially for a defender who may not be able to make as large of an impact as a rookie signal caller can on offense.

With that in mind, here are the current front runners for this season's award.

2024 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year: Frontrunners

Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA (+700)

Ahead of Thursday's draft, edge defender Laiatu Latu is the current favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. He is not a significant favorite, though, and the race as a whole is wide open, who no rookie having better than +700 odds and seven rookies having odds shorter than +1600. Compared to the Offensive Rookie of the Year odds, where quarterback Caleb Williams (+350) is the current favorite, there is more uncertainty on the defensive side of the ball.

Latu is the 10th prospect on PFF's Big Board and earned their top grade (96.3) among 836 Edge Defenders last season. Per, he ranks first in production score (90) in this year's DE/EDGE class, eighth in Athleticism score (75) and first in total score (84). In 12 games last season, Latu recorded 49 total tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, and 13.0 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles.

For all rookies, landing spot plays a huge role in their outlook. In Jordan Reid's latest mock draft, released on Tuesday, he has Latu coming off the board at pick 11 to the Atlanta Falcons. In Atlanta, Latu would reinforce a Falcons' defense that finished last season ranked 10th in numberFire's Team Power Rankings. Atlanta's defense was a huge reason why they were able to remain in the playoff picture last season despite a dysfunctional offense. In Atlanta, Latu could make an impact immediately and help the Falcons take the jump from top 10 to elite.

Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama (+850)

Next up is is another edge defender, Dallas Turner, who, along with Jared Verse, forms a mini tier of rookies with the second-best odds to take home ROTY. At 21 years old, Turner is two years younger than Latu and is 16th on PFF's big board, seventh-highest among defenders. He ranks fourth in production score (80), and second in both athleticism score (86) and total score (84). In 14 games for Alabama last season, Turner recorded 53 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 10.0 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.

Per Reid's mock draft, Turner is projected to come off the board at pick nine to the Chicago Bears -- the first defender selected in the draft. In other mocks, Turner has also been in consideration for the Falcons at pick eight if they choose not to trade back. On either team, Turner would be well-positioned to succeed as a start from Day 1. The Bears have made several moves this offseason to bolster their offense and are expected to have a new signal caller under center, Caleb Williams. If they also select Turner in the first round, they could be hoping for a similar impact that the Houston Texans saw when they drafted C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. with the second and third picks in last year's draft.

The Bears finished last season ranked 15th in numberFire's NFL Power Rankings. They ranked 2nd against the run but 19th against the pass.'s Lance Zierlein includes "disruptive initial quickness" and "elite closing burst" in his list of Turner's strengths. If Turner can make an immediate impact and improve Chicago's pass rush, he can be part of a quick turnaround for the Bears.

Jared Verse, ED, Florida State (+850)

Jared Verse is even with Turner on odds and is the third of three edge defenders at the top of the ROTY odds table. Verse is 19th on PFF's Big Board, eighth among defenders, and ranked 43rd among edge defenders last season with a grade of 84.4. He ranks third in production score (81) and total score (84) and sixth in athleticism score (79). In 13 games last season, Verse recorded 41 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 9.0 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.

Reid's mock has Verse going 19th overall to the Los Angeles Rams. If that happens, Verse would be the first player selected by Los Angeles in the first round since 2016. Los Angeles needs to begin to address the loss of the legendary Aaron Donald, who retired this offseason. Even with Donald, the Rams' defense struggled last season. They finished the season ranked 7th in offense, per numberFire's Team Power Rankings, but 22nd in defense. They struggled against the run (23rd) and the pass (23rd). Unlike the projected landing spots for Turner and Latu, it is unlikely Verse could be part of a defensive unit that makes the leap to elite next season, but he might have a better path to a winning season.

There is reason for optimism for the Falcons' and Bears' offenses this season, but the Rams' offense was already a top unit last season. They have the ability to jump out to leads and set up their defense for success. If Verse does join Los Angeles and takes advantage of those opportunities to key a defensive turnaround, he could certainly be in consideration for ROTY at the end of the season.

Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo (+1000)

Quinyon Mitchell has the best odds of any non-edge defender to win ROTY. He is ninth on PFF's big board, second among defenders, and earned the highest grade (91.5) out of 852 cornerbacks last season. Per, Mitchell ranked first among CBs in total score (90), third in production score (83) and fourth in athleticism score (86). In 13 games last season he recorded 41 total tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, and 1 interception. In 2022 he recoreded 5 interceptions.

According to Zierlein, Mitchell "can play in a variety of coverages and was the clear-cut top cornerback at the Senior Bowl when working against the top receivers in practice". Mitchell is projected to come off the board at pick 17 to the Jacksonville Jaguars -- the second CB selected.

Jacksonville was average on both sides of the ball last season. Their defense finished the season ranked 12th overall, 21st against the run and 11th against the pass. The Jaguars made it a point to address their secondary in free agency, signing Ronald Darby and Darnell Savage to play. alongside Tyson Campbell, the 33rd overall pick in the 2021 draft. If Mitchell joins that group, the potential is there for him to make an impact right away as part of a very impactful unit.

Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama (+1200)

Rounding out the top five is Terrion Arnold. Arnold sits in 14th on PFF's big board, sixth among defenders and third at his position. He earned a grade of 88.4 last season, 13th of 852 cornerbacks. His athleticism score (70) ranks 17th, but his production score (90) ranks first and his total score (85) ranks second. In 14 games for Alabama last season, Arnold recoreded 63 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks, and 5.0 interceptions.

Arnold is currently projected to come off the board at pick 12 to the Philadelphia Eagles as part of move up the draft board. He is the first cornerback selected in Reid's latest mock. If Arnold does end up in Philadelphia, he will be in an excellent position to make an impact for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Philadelphia's defense let them down last season and they changed coordinators this offseason in an effort to quickly address that collapse. The Eagles' defense finished last season ranked 29th overall, 27th against the run, and 28th against the pass.

It seems like a stretch to suggest that a team that ranked inside the bottom five in both phases on defense could turn things around quickly, but the Eagles' roster has the talent to do so. There will be no shortage of eyes on Philadelphia this season and Arnold would have the opportunity to be a key contributor to a potential contender, working alongside two veterans in James Bradberry and Darius Slay.

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