After Colts linebacker Darius Leonard rose from about obscurity to win Arresting Amateur of the Year in 2018, San Francisco 49ers angle rusher Nick Bosa went from No. 2 all-embracing alternative to DROY aftermost division in the NFL. Here are some DROY trends: 16 of the aftermost 18 DROYs accept been Round 1 picks, and contempo history tells us in acrimonious a DROY, be abiding to baddest a amateur on a aggregation you apprehend to accept a high-caliber arresting unit. In the accomplished six years, the Arresting Amateur of the Year came from a top 10 aggregation in Football Outsiders’ arresting DVOA. In 2013, Sheldon Richardson won the accolade aback the Jets accomplished 13th. Luke Kuechly was the DROY in 2012, and the Panthers came in 11th.
Next to anniversary amateur is his DROY odds, set by William Hill Sports Book. Although Chase Young was the aboriginal arresting amateur called in the 2020 NFL Draft, we feel addition first-round aces has a bigger adventitious to accompany home the honor, appropriately authoritative him the best bulk comedy on the board.
Without added ado, let’s dive into that and the blow of my top 10 Arresting Amateur of the Year candidates.
Johnson was my No. 51 anticipation all-embracing in this chic and it wasn’t accessible to acquisition a bright blemish in his game. He has the size, concrete attributes in press, twitchiness, and accustomed brawl abilities to acutely consistently be about the football. He had 15 canyon breakups and six picks in his final two seasons at Utah, and his 2019 was abundant beneath ever avaricious than the above-mentioned season.
He acreage in a comfortable bearings in the Windy City adverse No. 1 cornerback Kyle Fuller on a aegis with a barbaric canyon blitz accessible to backlash from a somewhat bottomward season. In 2018, en avenue to a 12-4 almanac and an NFC North crown, the Bears led the alliance with 36 turnovers forced. With Akiem Hicks missing 11 amateur due to abrasion and Leonard Floyd never arising as a absolutely advancing accompaniment to Khalil Mack, Chicago alone affected 19 turnovers in 2019, the 11th-lowest bulk in the NFL. But with Hicks abiding and the activating and bendy Robert Quinn added in chargeless agency, the Bears should calmly crank up the burden already afresh up front, arch to added aureate opportunities for arresting backs to accomplish plays, which plays into Johnson’s no-hesitation, advancing style.
Per Sports Info Solutions, the Bears alone created burden on 34% of opponents’ dropbacks aftermost year, the 21st-best bulk in the league. In 2018 — 37.3%, the fifth-highest allotment in football. While a long-shot, I like Johnson authoritative some babble as a DROY candidate, as he mostly aligns with team’s No. 2 wideouts on a aegis with a superstar canyon rusher in Khalil Mack and two horses abutting to him in Hicks and Quinn.
The aftermost time a third-round aces won DROY was 1988, so I’m activity out on a limb historically. But apprehend me out. Ojemudia was an underrated, squeaky apple-pie off-coverage/zone prospect. His instincts are fantastic, he has austere breadth — 6-foot-1 and 32 1/4-inch accoutrements — and he was advantageous in his aftermost two years at Iowa with 15 canyon breakups and six interceptions.
Most “zone” cornerbacks get a non-athletic label, yet Ojemudia ran 4.45 with a 36-inch vertical and a lightning-quick 6.87 three cone at the combine. He absolutely checks all the boxes.
And Ojemudia joins a aggregation that traded for a No. 1 cornerback this offseason — A.J. Bouye — so he won’t be befuddled to the No. 1 receiver blaze instantly. Also, the Broncos acknowledgment Bradley Chubb to their canyon blitz and acquired Jurrell Casey, one of the bigger accomplished autogenous disruptors in the game. For a angle committed to account avenue concepts and attacking, Ojemudia will be in a cool bearings in Denver as a rookie. Sleeper DROY candidate.
Dugger was a top 40 anticipation on my Big Board, a new-age second/third akin apostle with aberrant access for the assurance atom who flies beyond the acreage adjoin the run and in coverage. And accustomed Bill Belichick’s admiration for accurately able defenders, it’s no abruptness the Patriots best Dugger aboriginal in Round 2.
I anticipate Belichick’s accessible to comedy ground-game controlled breach and absolutely angular on the aegis — afresh — to win amateur in 2020. There are a countless of ultra-reliable accomplished safeties avant-garde of Dugger on New England’s abyss chart, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung arch amid them, but I wouldn’t be abashed if Bill primarily uses Dugger as a linebacker to start, accustomed the team’s charge for added ambit at that position.
Playing abutting to the beating Dont’a Hightower would be cool benign for Dugger because he’s not abnormally accomplished at acquisition blockers at the additional level. I could see Dugger accepting a Chung-like carbon sheet-stuffing amateur year with a scattering of access plays as a blitzer, adjoin the run, and at the average akin in coverage. That’d get him some DROY consideration.
Chaisson is the barring to the “pick a DROY applicant who’ll comedy on a acceptable defense” abstraction because I anticipate the Jaguars are at atomic a year abroad from fielding a able arresting unit.
However, Chaisson was my No. 2 angle rusher on a top-20 anticipation all-embracing in the 2020 chic because of his outstanding aggregate of burst, bend, speed-to-power, and pass-rushing moves as a 20-year-old prospect. Lots of 20s there. He wasn’t acutely constant as LSU in 2019. But he was advancing off an ACL breach in his green attack and “only” advised 254 pounds at 6-3. He could add addition 10 to his anatomy and really be an alarming attendance beyond from Josh Allen. By the way, Chaisson did accept 6.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for accident in 13 games. He produced.
Back to Allen, Jacksonville’s 2019 first-round aces who agilely recorded 10.5 sacks aftermost season. Offensive coordinators will arrangement to stop him initially, which should leave Chaisson in a fair bulk of advantageous, accurate one-on-one situations on the outside.
With low expectations, if the Jaguars abruptness — decidedly on aegis — and Chaisson reaps the allowances of arena on the aforementioned arresting avant-garde as Allen, he could be a base DROY applicant backward in the season.
Winfield was actively afflicted in assorted seasons at Minnesota, then, with a apple-pie bill of bloom in 2019, intercepted seven passes for the Fighting P.J. Flecks while authoritative 83 absolute tackles. He was all over the field. Every game.
Like his dad, Winfield is ultra-authoritative adjoin the run and arch instincts aback it comes to account avenue concepts allows him to cool fast on the field. But he’s not aloof a bookish safety. He ran 4.45 with a 36-inch vertical at the combine.
Without abundant fanfare, the Buccaneers fielded a affection (elite?) aegis beneath Todd Bowles aftermost season, a assemblage that accomplished fifth in Football Outsiders’ arresting DVOA, and they’re basically abiding everybody worthwhile.
Safety was the one bright charge on defense, and Winfield walks into a starting role as a rookie. With Shaq Barrett arch a canyon blitz that created burden on 37% of opponent’s dropbacks in 2019, the ninth-best bulk in the league, Winfield will accept abounding befalling to makes plays on the football in coverage. And of course, a aerial interception absolute is generally the active force abaft a arresting aback acceptable DROY.
Kinlaw was my top autogenous arresting band anticipation in this class, yes, avant-garde of Derrick Brown. The capital acumen for that? Pass-rush capability. Kinlaw and Brown are about analogously sized, but Kinlaw was artlessly a abundant added able canyon rusher in college. Per PFF, in 2019, the South Carolina brilliant had a 18.1% pass-rush win rate, additional in the 2020 chic amid autogenous arresting linemen. Brown’s was 13.7%.
From his cutting balderdash blitz to the baby but hyper-effective accumulating of pass-rushing moves in his arsenal, Kinlaw can win in a array of means from any position on the arresting line. And he accomplish in for the ancient DeForest Buckner, addition tall, able arroyo amateur who emerged as one of the bigger pass-rushing central arresting linemen in football aboriginal in his career.
Playing alongside four added first-round picks on the arresting line, Kinlaw is in a cool position to eat as a rookie.
Okudah was the arch columnist man cornerback in this chic and calmly my top cornerback overall. He smothered Big 10 receivers — and did one heck of a job adjoin the Clemson wideouts — with a attenuate alloy of admeasurement (6-1, 205 with 32 5/8-inch arms) and athleticism to stick to any blazon of receiver during his route.
Okudah ran a 4.48 40 time, had a 41-inch vertical jump and a 135-inch ample jump — he’s cool explosive.
And he landed in an abundantly man-coverage blessed aegis in Detroit. According to SIS, the Lions acclimated beeline man advantage 54% of the time aftermost season, the highest-rate in the league. If he caliginosity (big if), Okudah is in band to see Davante Adams, Allen Robinson, Adam Thielen, Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, and Mike Evans. Murderer’s row appropriate there.
But if he holds his own as a rookie, has aerial pass-breakup figures, and a few interceptions as a aerial pick, Okudah will be a above DROY contender.
Simmons is the future. He’s not as aqueous in advantage as Derwin James but is abundant bigger with a beyond arrest ambit and isn’t absent on canyon plays. A top 5 anticipation for me — and aloof about anybody evaluating abstract affairs this year — Simmons is a annoyance adjoin the run, will coast with any bound end bottomward the field, and is a phenomenal, finishing blitzer. He’s the ultimate quarterback spy too.
His amazing versatility will put him in a position to accomplish altered types of plays throughout the season. One week, the bold plan could alarm for him to primarily be a aperture defender. The abutting week, a between-the-tackles central linebacker. The next, he could blitz the passer 20 times. Then, he could ambit from the abysmal average as a chargeless safety.
At times, his twitchiness will be continued to the limit. But his instincts and beeline speed/range will bead aperture generally in 2020.
Young was an aristocratic anticipation any way you looked at him. His assembly was through the roof in his final two seasons at Ohio State. Registering 181 pressures on 790 pass-rush snaps (per PFF) is absurd, abnormally in a Power 5 conference. And accomplishing it at 6-4 and 265 pounds with a deluge of means to the quarterback fabricated him the accord top apostle in this class. Aboriginal step. Speed about the corner. Power through the tackle. Array of pass-rushing counters. He’s abundantly advanced.
And Young joins a arresting band featuring four added first-round picks on it. While the Redskins aegis apparently won’t be outstanding, Young will accomplish pressure, get sacks, and acquisition himself in the DROY chat at season’s end.
Queen’s my DROY aces because of the absolute alliance amid his aptitude and bearings in Baltimore. Queen was absolutely an aboriginal second-round aces on my Big Board, but it’s not as if I didn’t like him as a prospect. He’s ultra-twitchy, plays bigger than his admeasurement amid the tackles aback blockers get to the additional level, and is bland admitting not cool advantageous in coverage.
And Queen is in a playmaking linebacker’s dream ambiance abaft a arresting band featuring Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe, Brandon Williams, and Justin Madubuike. He’ll acceptable be anchored abutting to gigantic, decline adolescent amateur linebacker Malik Harrison too. My goodness. Queen will be able to roam chargeless added than best linebackers in the league. And his short-area activity will assignment wonders adjoin backs in coverage.
Expect huge arrest numbers, and some access plays in advantage and as a blitzer — no aggregation blitzed added than Baltimore in 2019 — for Queen en avenue to acceptable Arresting Amateur of the Year.
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