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AP announces NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year finalists

Nikki Chavanelleby:Nikki Chavanelle01/26/24


Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

The Associated Press announced the five finalists for the 2023 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award on Thursday. This year’s group of finalists includes three defensive linemen and two cornerbacks. Three of the five finalists were first-round picks, with the other two drafted in the second and third rounds.

Still in consideration for this year’s top defensive rookie award are Texans DE Will Anderson, Eagles DT Jalen Carter, Rams DT Kobie Turner, Seahawks CB Devon Witherspoon and Steelers CB Joey Porter Jr. The winner of last year’s award was Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner but the three previous winners were all pass rushers.

The AP will announce the winner of the rookie defensive player of the year award on Feb. 8, 2023. The winner is announced during the 13th annual NFL honors ceremony, which will air live on CBS and NFL Network and stream on Paramount+ and NFL+.

Texans DE Will Anderson

Will Anderson
Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

The No. 3 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Alabama alum Will Anderson had an impactful first year in the league for the Texans. He had 45 tackles with seven sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. He broke the Texans’ rookie record for sacks.

Eagles DT Jalen Carter

Jalen Carter Eagles
Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

Selected No. 9 overall by the Eagles, Jalen Carter continued to bully offensive linemen like he did at Georgia last year. He posted 33 tackles with six sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and five tackles for loss.

Steelers CB Joey Porter Jr.

Joey Porter Jr
Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

Playing all 17 games in Year 1 for the Steelers, Joey Porter Jr. had 43 tackles this season, including 32 solo tackles and one tackle for loss. He also notched his first career interception against the Ravens.

Rams DT Kobie Turner

Kobie turner Rams
Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports

Former Wake Forest star Kobie Turner led all rookies in sacks with nine this season. He also posted 57 total tackles with six tackles for loss as an immediate-impact player for the Rams after they snagged him in the third round.

Seahawks CB Devon Witherspoon

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Fifth-overall draft pick Devon Witherspoon posted a whopping 79 tackles in his first season for Seattle. He also had three sacks, five tackles for loss, and his first career pick-six, which he scored early in the year against the Giants.

The Las Vegas odds depict a tight race for this year’s defensive rookie of the year. Eagles star Jalen Carter is at the top of the leaderboard with -200 odds, followed closely by Anderson (+300) and Turner (+450). Witherspoon and Porter are both trailing with +10000 odds.