The list of potential 2012 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates is a long one, but TheGreek.com has narrowed it down to 20 players. Football Odds at the offshore book are favoring three players, New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones, Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, and Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne, at 8-1 odds ($100 to win $800) in what is certain to be a tightly contested battle for the coveted honor.
2012 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Picks
In 2010 Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh snapped a long run of linebackers winning the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, but Denver’s Von Miller restored order last season, becoming the eighth linebacker to garner the award since 2003. With that trend in mind, here are the best options when picking from this year’s candidates:
Luke Kuechly (ILB – Carolina Panthers by way of Boston College): Kuechly has been referred to by many as the most NFL ready player in this year’s draft. The guy was a tackle machine for BC last season, averaging 15.9 per game (191 for the season) to lead the nation, and he is certain to produce his fair share of stops in Carolina this year. Not a bad pick at 8-1 odds.
Courtney Upshaw (OLB – Baltimore Ravens by way of Alabama): Upshaw produced 52 tackles (18 for loss), 9.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, and one interception in his final season at Alabama. He will get every opportunity to shine in Baltimore where the defense already generates plenty of national attention. Also aiding Upshaw’s ROY cause is Terrell Suggs offseason Achilles injury. Suggs contends he will be back sometime in November, but in the meantime, Upshaw will fill the void left by the 2003 Rookie of the Year winner.
Dont’a Hightower (ILB – New England Patriots by way of Alabama): Upshaw’s teammate also had a big year for the Tide, racking up 85 tackles (11 for loss), four sacks, and seven quarterback hurries. Playing inside for the Patriots, he will have the luxury of Vince Wilfork eating up blockers. Hightower has the skill set to make the most of that benefit and his numbers at the end of the season should reflect as much.
2012 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds:
Bruce Irvin (DE – Seahawks) 20-1 Casey Hayward (CB – Packers) 15-1 Chandler Jones (DE – Patriots) 8-1 Courtney Upshaw (LB – Ravens) 10-1 Dont’a Hightower (LB – Patriots) 10-1 Dontari Poe (DT – Chiefs) 15-1 Dre Kirkpatrick (CB – Bengals) 10-1 Fletcher Cox (DT – Eagles) 10-1 Harrison Smith (FS – Vikings) 15-1 Janoris Jenkins (CB – Rams) 15-1 Jerel Worthy (DT – Packers) 25-1 Luke Kuechly (LB – Panthers) 8-1Mark Barron (SS – Buccaneers) 12-1Melvin Ingram (DE – Chargers) 18-1Michael Brockers (DT – Rams) 18-1Morris Claiborne (CB – Cowboys) 8-1Mychal Kendricks (LB – Eagles) 15-1Nick Perry (DE – Packers) 12-1Quinton Coples (DE – Jets) 15-1Stephon Gilmore (CB – Bills) 15-1Field 5-1 Golden Nuggets 2012 Games of Year College Football Spreads: Pregame.com Pros Scott Spreitzer & Bryan Leonard discuss the Golden Nuggets' 2012 College Football Games of Year betting!