The 2023 NFL draft was absolutely loaded on defense. There are a dozen or more guys who came out of this class who will be in the starting lineup. Here are our five top candidates for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
1 - EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Carolina Panthers
Will Anderson has the potential to finish the season with double-digit sacks as a rookie. He’s so explosive off the snap he is not going to be intimidated by NFL tackles.
2 - EDGE Tyree Wilson, Las Vegas Raiders
To get an award like this you need lots of splash plays and Tyree Wilson has an opportunity to really rack up stats with the Raiders.
3 - DT Jalen Carter, Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Carter might be the most disruptive defender in the entire draft class. On that Eagles defense he should have a chance to shine but with so much talent on the roster, stats will be harder to come by.
4 - LB Jack Campbell, Detroit Lions
It came as a surprise that Jack Campbell went as early as he did but he should be an immediate starter on the Lions defense. Campbell’s skills translate perfectly to the NFL and he is a near-lock to top 100 tackles and a handful of splash stats.
5 - S Devon Witherspoon, Seattle Seahawks
If there is a cornerback among this rookie class with a chance to stand out it is Devon Witherspoon. The Seahawks are going to put him in a position to make plenty of plays and with his ball skills it should translate to big numbers.