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Tremaine Edmunds Falling out of Defensive Rookie of the Year Race

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NFL Football

Updated Apr 9, 2020 · 1:46 PM PDT

Tremaine Edmunds holds up a jersey and takes a photo after being chosen by the Buffalo Bills
Tremaine Edmunds holds up a jersey and takes a photo after being chosen by the Buffalo Bills with the 16th pick at the 2018 NFL Draft. Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
  • Tremaine Edmunds slides down DROY odds board
  • Should there be a gap that far between Edmunds and Darius Leonard?
  • Seeking out the best value bet for rookie defenders

We’re closing in on the midpoint of the NFL season, and there appears to be a separation developing at the top of the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds.

In particular, Bills rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds went from a top three legitimate contender to an outside chance within a span of two short weeks. (See the Top 5 tab in the graph below.)

Average 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Now, he did just slip one spot, but it was a steep fall from the previous tier. Which begs the question: what happened?

2018 NFL DROY Odds

Player Team Pos Drafted Odds
Darius Leonard IND ILB 36th Overall +150
Denzel Ward CLE CB 4th Overall +235
Derwin James LAC S 17th Overall +333
Tremaine Edmunds BUF ILB 16th Overall +850
Bradley Chubb DEN EDGE 5th Overall +1200

Edmunds Still Making an Impact

Now, it would be one thing if Edmunds’ play had gone south, but even as the Bills have struggled to cobble together wins, it hasn’t been because the defense has been lagging. You could make the argument they’re the only thing keeping Buffalo respectable right now.

Six weeks into the season, the Bills have dotted the NFL leaderboards with their surprising play.

They rank third in yards allowed at just 311.7 per game, tied for third in sacks (19), sixth in pass yards allowed (219.2), eighth in rush yards allowed (92.5), and are head and shoulders ahead of the rest of the NFL in forced fumbles. Their 19 is seven clear of any other team.

And Edmunds has been at the center of it all, making big contributions. A big part. I mean, check this stat:

With that in mind, it’s safe to say that not all statistical grading on the position of linebacker is completely accurate. How is it possible that he’s not on this board?

What’s most surprising is that the young man is still really young. At 20 years old, he’s not supposed to be patrolling the teeth of the defense and destroying worlds.

Darius Leonard Buzz Picking Up Steam

Perhaps it’s not Edmunds so much as it’s the competition. Indianapolis wunderkind Darius Leonard has been doing it at a high level at the same inside linebacker position as Edmunds.

He also happens to already have a signature game to his resume, which is why he’s atop the leaderboard.

Strong tackling appears to be his forte, as he currently leads the NFL in total tackles with 62 – having played one less game than the field as he missed a Week 6 loss to the Patriots.

It seems like ages ago that the inside linebacker spot was a glamour position, but it’s safe to say that if there is a resurgence, these two will likely be at the forefront of it.

Tremaine Edmunds vs Darius Leonard Statistical Comparison

6 Games 5
47 Total Tackles 62
1.0 Sacks 4.0
2 Forced Fumbles 2
5 Passes Defensed 0

Interested in picking nits? Thank goodness for Twitter.

What Rookie Presents the Best Value for DROY?

At this point, taking a flier on Edmunds (+850) is not a bad idea.

Leonard has been dinged up already. If he does miss more games, Edmunds could vault back into the mix if he puts together a signature performance or two in the final 10 games.

Don’t sleep on Bradley Chubb (+1000) either.

The Broncos pass-rusher finally made the impact expected of a top-five pick when he chased down Jared Goff three times for sacks in last week’s loss to the Rams.

If he can get to the quarterback in bunches, he could emerge as the winner when the dust settles. Getting to about 14 sacks or greater could do it for him.

There’s a reason that Denzel Ward leapfrogged the field and ended up just behind Leonard in the updated leaderboard. The talented Browns corner is always around the ball and making plays.

Taking him now (+235) at the second shortest odds won’t be as profitable, but still could make you a winner.

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