2021 NFL DROY Predictions
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2021 NFL DROY Predictions Heading Into The Season

This defensive draft class was pretty unique compared to years past. Usually, a draft class has a premier pass rusher who goes in the top-five but we did not see that this year – in fact, only three defensive players were drafted in the top 15 picks. Could we see a cornerback win the award for the first time since 2017 or will a linebacker emerge as the clear favorite? Here are my 2021 NFL DROY predictions ahead of the season.

2021 NFL DROY Predictions – #1 Micah Parsons

Micah Parsons is, in my opinion, the best defensive player in this draft and he has a chance to be special. The former Penn State Nittany Lion is a ball hawk and reminds me a little of Luke Kuechly because of the manner in which he flies all over the field. Unfortunately for Parsons, he was drafted by the Cowboys, who have a tendency to ruin every defensive player they touch.

Parsons should be the day one starter, as the Cowboys’ linebackers are always injured and are rarely effective even when they do stay healthy. Jaylon Smith has regressed and Leighton Vander-Esch simply cannot stay on the field.

Mike McCarthy knows nothing about hiring assistants because he moved directly from Mike Nolan to Dan Quinn as his defensive coordinator. Quinn was most recently employed as the head coach of the Falcons, who had a historically bad defense.

The last linebacker to win the DROY was Darius Leonard in 2018, but Parsons has a good chance of just running away with the award.

2021 NFL DROY Predictions – #2 Jamin Davis

I did not get to see a lot of Jamin Davis while he was at Kentucky, but after watching some highlights on Youtube, He does look the part of an NFL linebacker. Davis is joining a talented Washington defense that has stars scattered throughout, but if there were a position on the defense that needs depth, it is linebacker. With his speed and his power, Davis should be able to effectively defend both the pass and the run.

Jack del Rio has become an underrated defensive coordinator under Ron Rivera and has turned this defense into one of the league’s best. Chase Young won the award in 2020 and Davis has a shot to make it back to back defensive rookie of the years for the Washington Football Team.

2021 NFL DROY Predictions – #3 Jaycee Horn

Jaycee Horn’s rise to a top-ten pick was fast. After the college football season was over, Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II looked like he would be the first CB taken in the draft, but Matt Rhule and the Carolina Panthers instead drafted Horn with the eighth overall pick.

Similar to Jamin Davis, I did not watch a lot of Jaycee Horn and South Carolina football but he does have elite physical tools. Despite only playing in six games in 2020 and opting out after Will Muschamp was fired, Horn was still named to the SEC Second Team.

Horn enters a Panthers’ defense that is young and unproven. Besides Donte Jackson and Jeremy Chinn, the secondary is pretty suspect and Horn should provide a spark from day one. Marshon Lattimore was the last cornerback to win the award back in 2017 and if there is a cornerback to take it home in 2021, Horn is the guy.

2021 NFL DROY Predictions – Dark Horse – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fell in the draft all the way to 52, where the Browns finally picked him up. JOK is joining a talented Browns defense headlined by potential DPOY Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney, Denzel Ward and John Johnson.

The linebacker position is pretty slim for Cleveland, and JOK is rightfully listed as a starter on the Browns’ depth chart. A beneficial facet of the Browns’ defense for Owuso-Koramoah is that most eyes are going to be on Garrett and the secondary, which is bound to take some pressure off of the young LB. JOK is poised for a huge season and no one should be surprised if he takes home the award.

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