NFL Odds: Props Predictions for 2011 Defensive Rookie of the Year
by Alan Matthews - 5/9/2011
Since we may not see any NFL transactions for months, depending on a June 3 court hearing on the lockout, and with the draft still fresh in everyone’s memory, let’s take a look at one of the few NFL player props out so far this year: the 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (check back at Doc’s for a story on the Offensive Rookie of the Year as well).
WagerWeb lists three players as the early favorites at +500: Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (taken No. 2 overall), Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (No. 5 overall) and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley (No. 13 overall).
Let’s start with Fairley and why I think he’s not good value here. He was probably the “steal” of the first round in most draft experts’ eyes. At one point he was No. 1 on some big boards, but some character issues apparently dropped him into the Lions’ lap. Obviously the guy has mad skills if motivated, as we all saw in the national title game win over Oregon when he almost single-handedly stopped that high-powered Ducks offense. And I’m sure he will have an impact, but I don’t see him playing enough snaps to win Rookie of the Year. Remember that the Lions already are pretty well set at defensive tackle: reigning Rookie of the Year Ndamukong Suh at one spot and Corey Williams at the other. What defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham will do is rotate Fairley with those two – as good as Suh was last year, Cunningham believes he can be even better by staying fresh. Plus, most defensive tackles, Suh aside, don’t put up gaudy stats, so Fairley isn’t a good bet.
Peterson, no doubt, will start from Day 1 on that Arizona defense. He is likely to see a bunch of balls thrown his way as QBs look to avoid Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the other side, so that could mean a nice interception total for Peterson. Plus, he could bring a few kicks back as he is a tremendous return man. Ironically, the Lions tried to trade up to get Peterson. Miller, meanwhile, should thrive at outside linebacker/defensive end in Denver’s new 4-3 defense under Coach John Fox and opposite pass-rushing demon Elvis Dumervil, who will draw all the attention. Some think Miller is the best pure pass-rusher to enter the draft in years. I think he’s the favorite; and also be aware that a linebacker won this award seven straight years before Suh ended that streak in 2010.
Can a Houston Texan win this award for the third time in the past six seasons? I definitely think so. Houston took Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt at No. 11 overall and apparently thinks so highly of him that the Texans are moving former No. 1 overall pick Mario Williams to outside linebacker in the team’s new 3-4 defensive scheme. I think Houston’s defense takes a giant leap this year (it can only get better, frankly) under new coordinator Wade Phillips and that Watt is the best value on the board at +1200.
A great longshot option is Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Da’Quan Bowers +2000. He was the draft’s biggest slider on defense – at one point he was No. 1 on the big board, too, but slid all the way to the 51st overall pick because of concerns over his knee. Bowers led college football in sacks last year and should start right away, if healthy, as the Bucs were 30th in the NFL in sacks last year. Tampa Bay has a stellar front four of Gerald McCoy and Brian Price at the tackle spots (first- and second-round picks from last year) and Bowers and 2011 first-round pick Adrian Clayborn at the ends. Bowers says he is just slightly motivated to prove all those teams that passed on him wrong.
Here are all of WagerWeb’s options on this prop with their respective NFL odds:
Aaron Williams +1500
Adrian Clayborn +1200
Aldon Smith +1000
Bruce Carter +1000
Cameron Jordan +1200
Corey Liuget +1500
DaQuan Bowers +2000
JJ Watt +1200
Jabaal Sheard +1800
Jimmy Smith +800
Marcell Dareus +650
Marvin Austin +1500
Muhammad Wilkerson +1500
Nick Fairley +500
Patrick Peterson +500
Prince Amukamara +800
Phil Taylor +2000
Robert Quinn +1200
Ryan Kerrigan +1200
Von Miller +500
Cameron Heyward +1500
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