2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Rankings: Through Week 14
There's always a lot of hype surrounding the best defensive rookies as the regular season progresses.
Though only three defensive players were selected inside the top 10 of the 2018 NFL Draft, there are plenty of prospects that could breakout on their new team and take over the DROY battle.
Here's a look at Vegas' odds for DROY.
7. Denzel Ward
Team: Cleveland Browns
College: Ohio State (No. 4 overall)
Current Odds: +3000
Through Week 14: The Ohio State product wasted no time getting his feet wet in the NFL, as he notched a pair of interceptions against future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1.
He has cooled off since then, only recording one interception since then. While he has been one of the key cornerstones in an improving Browns defense, he won't be taking home the award.
6. Jaire Alexander
Team: Green Bay Packers
College: Louisville (No. 18 overall)
Preseason Odds: +1300
Through Week 14: The Packers have addressed their secondary heavily over the past two NFL Drafts, with Alexander being one of the key pieces.
Alexander is a star in the making, and the future star of the Packers defense.
5. Roquan Smith
Team: Chicago Bears
College: Georgia (No. 8 overall)
Current Odds: +2500
Through Week 14: After a relatively slow start, the rookie has been playing some great footbal lately. He's recorded double-digit tackles in four of the last six games.
The Bears have won six of their last seven, and Smith's improved play is a big reason why.
4. Leighton Vander Esch
Team: Dallas Cowboys
College: Boise State (No. 19 overall)
Current Odds: +400
Through Week 14: The Boise State product has been very impressive during the Cowboys five game winning-streak. He has recorded 108 tackles through 14 games, and given a glimpse to the Cowboys faithful what he can do. He's also catapulted himself directly into the Defensive Rookie of the Year race.
While he will probably come up a little short for the award, the Cowboys brass has every reason to be very excited about Vander Esch, who should be a staple in the Dallas defense for years to come.
3. Bradley Chubb
Team: Denver Broncos
Position: Defensive end
College: North Carolina State (No. 5 overall)
Current Odds: +1500
Through Week 8: Chubb was drafted to reck havoc on the other side of the defensive line opposite All-Pro Von Miller, and thus far, Chubb has not dissapointed.
With three games still to go, Chubb broke Von Miller's Broncos' rookie record for most sacks in a season with 12.0. The only players with more sacks than him are Miller, Aaron Donald, Myles Garrett, and J.J. Watt. That's some good company to be in.
2. Darius Leonard
Team: Indianapolis Colts
College: South Carolina State (No. 36 overall)
Current Odds: +150
Through Week 14: Leonard may have been overlooked by teams on draft day, but that is no longer the case.
Leonard has recorded 135 tackles, an NFL best, including 90 solo tackles. Additionally, he has totaled seven sacks, four forced fumbles, 11 tackles for loss, and an interception.
This award is turning into a two-man race between Leonard and Chargers' safety Derwin James, who we will get to in a second.
1. Derwin James
Team: Los Angeles Chargers
College: Florida State (No. 17 overall)
Current Odds: -180
Through Week 14: With three games remaining, James has emerged as the favorite for the award.The safety has been dominant thus far for San Diego, a vital reason the Chargers sit at 10-3.
Through 13 games, James has 88 tackles and three interceptions, 3.5 sacks, and 12 pass deflections. To put James' season into perspective, Troy Polamalu's career averages per season were 65 tackles, 2.6 interceptions, and 1 sack. He's having an All-Pro season and then some.