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"Finding value in NFL Defensive ROY bets"

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Nothing much, just something on insider relating to Spoon, id thought someoned be curious what it was sooner or later

By Chad Millman

Last week I wrote about the factors you should consider when making bets on Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates. Well guess what, those same factors -- how soon will he get on the field, does the system meet his talents, how good is the team -- apply when checking out the futures for DROY picks, too. It's also important to know that, since Brian Urlacher won the award in 2000, linebackers have picked up the hardware every year except for one. That was Julius Peppers in 2002. (Hey, the Chicago Bears have two aging ex-DROY's. We're golden!)

My favorite DROY candidate, at least until last week, was Baltimore Ravens tweener DE/LB Sergio Kindle. Could there be a rookie defender going into a better situation? He's a second round pick who won't get nearly as much attention on the front seven as Ray Lewis or Haloti Ngata, meaning he'd be single-teamed and free to roam. This was a classic steal by Ozzie Newsome, who tends to choose guys who produce in college and doesn't get swayed too much by track meet numbers. Kindle had 2.5 sacks in the BCS title game vs. Alabama and is the only college player ever named a finalist for both the Butkus (nation's top LB) and Hendricks (nation's top DE) awards.

At 12-1, playing for a good team in a great situation and being a linebacker, he was by far my favorite value for DROY. Then he tripped, fell down two flights of stairs, fractured his skull and well, who knows now. But I do hope he feels better.

Not to worry, though. There are still plenty of guys who will be vying for the DROY title. And, there is still one linebacker who looks like a particularly good value. If you believe in looking for trends.

As I did last week, I asked sportsbook.com's Dave Staley to help me run through the candidates and explain why his team came up with the odds it did. Then I gave my incredibly expert opinion on each candidate's value.

Eric Berry, S, Kansas City Chiefs, 4.5-1

Staley says: He's the highest-rated safety to come out in years and is just NFL ready. There is nothing bad you can say about this guy.

Except for this: The last time a safety won the DROY was back in 1990, when Mark Carrier did it with the Bears. I love Berry, but on a bad team that will mostly get attention for losing, it will be hard to sway voters he's the best newbie in the league.

Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions, 4.5-1

Staley says: A lot of people thought he was the best prospect coming out of the draft, better than Sam Bradford. He will start immediately, has a good head on his shoulders and will take no time to make an impact.

Again, an impact on a bad team isn't likely to get noticed. Especially when he's playing a position that isn't known for piling on the stats. In fact, the last time a DT won the DROY was when the Redskins Tim Bowens did it back in 1994. Plus, I'm not a big fan of playing the shortest odds on the board in this kind of scenario.

Gerald McCoy, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7.5-1

Staley says: I actually like this guy a lot. I think he will put up more glamour numbers than Suh in sacks and TFLs. I like him at 7.5-1.

Me too. Before the draft, there were a lot of folks that had Suh and McCoy as equal prospects. Now Suh is getting the shorter odds. This is the definition of value, folks. Sure the Bucs are pitiful, but the difference in the odds is all public perception. And that's when wise guys like to make a play.

Earl Thomas, S, Seattle Seahawks, 7.5-1

Staley says: He can put up some good numbers. He had eight interceptions and returned two for touchdowns last year. He gets compared a lot to Ed Reed.

This is another guy who, purely for reasons based on public perception, is getting longer odds than a similar player, Eric Berry. Pete Carroll liked Thomas so much he blew off taking the guy who manned the SC backfield, Taylor Mays, who would have been a top 10 pick if he came out a year earlier. If you're keeping track, this is another value.

Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Atlanta Falcons, 12-1

Staley says: I like the situation here. His team will make a little bit of noise and he won't be the only player on D, which means he's not getting beat up every game. Between the support, the numbers and the fact his team will win some games, this is an interesting option.

I love this choice. For all the same reasons I loved Kindle. Weatherspoon was a tackling machine at Mizzou, tallying more than 100 in all three seasons he started. And Atlanta is poised to be a contender for as long as Matt Ryan is the quarterback and Sam Jackson is making the team inspirational commercials. Imagine what Sam the man will do if Weatherspoon brings home the DROY trophy. Amen!

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BTW the ESPN rumor just stated

"Weatherspoon for DROY?

It's still a little unclear as to what exact position Atlanta Falcons first-round pick Sean Weatherspoon will play, and when he'll reach an agreement on his rookie contract.

But if he does get his contract situation squared away, and does play a big role for the team in 2010, ESPN Insider Chad Millman thinks that he's actually a great play for those who are, ahem, predicting which player will win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors."

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