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Juan Thornhill’s DROY Odds Improve Significantly After Working With First-Team Defense

Juan Thornhill
Kansas City Chiefs rookie defensive back Juan Thornhill's play during the pre-season has improved his DROY odds. Photo from @ArrowheadLive (Twitter).
  • Books list Chiefs rookie defensive back at +2500
  • Thornhill’s average odds to win DROY opened at +5000 last month
  • Devin Bush remains the odds-on favorite at +500

Juan Thornhill has made his presence felt in training camp and into the NFL preseason.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ rookie defensive back worked his way into a starting spot heading into the season and because of that, improved his Defensive Rookie of the Year odds significantly.

Is there any value in betting on a defensive back to win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020?

2019-2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Player Odds
Devin Bush +500
Nick Bosa +750
Devin White +800
Quinnen Williams +1000
Montez Sweat +1600
Ed Olivier +1600
Josh Allen +1600
Clelin Ferrell +2200
Brian Burns +2200
Chase Winovich +2500
Juan Thornhill +2500

*Odds taken 08/17/2019

Thornhill Impressing at Camp

A 2019 second-round pick, Thornhill’s average odds to win DROY opened at +5000 but have quickly shortened since emerging as a starter following a solid debut against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Thornhill had three tackles in that contest and made several key plays that swayed Chiefs head coach Andy Reid to promote the 23-year-old defensive back.

“You’ve seen the skill that he has,”Reid said during a news conference recently. “The more he plays, the better he’s going to get.”

Books have Thornhill listed at +2500 to +4500.

Chiefs Secondary Needs Help

The Chiefs desperately need help in the secondary and perhaps this is a move to fast-track Thornhill’s progress, while also adding some insurance at defensive back. In 2018, the Chiefs finished second last in passing defense, giving up 4,374 yards in the air. The Bengals were the only team to give up more.

The Chiefs’ passing defense also gave up 30 touchdowns to opposing teams, which was the seventh most in the entire NFL.

The defensive back position has been a popular choice for top rookie honors over the last five years. In fact, two of the last four DROY recipients have been defensive backs — Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs (2015) and Marshon Lattimore of the New Orleans Saints (2017).

Thornhill will undoubtedly have an immediate impact in Kansas City’s secondary, but there are better value picks on the board to keep a closer watch on.

Bush Still the Favorite

Devin Bush is still the odds-on favorite at +500 to win DROY and for good reason. The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, who opened at +1000 at several sportsbooks in mid-July, saw his stock begin to rise following a strong showing in the team’s first NFL pre-season game. Bush had a team-leading 10 tackles — seven of which were solo — in Pittsburgh’s opening pre-season win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A stretch from 2003 to 2009 saw linebackers dominate the DROY award, but there’s been a significant drop-off over the last six seasons. Darius Leonard, who was the 2018 recipient, was the first linebacker to win since Luke Kuechly took the honors in 2012.

Fellow linebacker Devin White of the Buccaneers is another strong candidate for 2020 DROY coming in at +800.

Bettors should not sleep on San Francisco 49ers Nick Bosa, who was ruled out of the rest of the preseason with a “significant” ankle sprain. The 49ers’ first round pick, who injured the ankle in camp, is listed at a very intriguing +750.

Pick: Devin Bush (+500)

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