NFL Offseason: Rookie of the Year Predictions
NFL OFFSEASON: ROOKIE OF THE YEAR PREDICTIONS – Unlike the MVP award, the OROY award often goes to a running back or wide receiver.
Garrett Wilson earned the award last season after amassing 1,100 yards on 83 receptions. On the defensive side of the ball, Sauce Gardner took home the DROY award after leading the league in pass deflections. The Jets had two top-ten picks, and both won Rookie of the Year, and the Texans have a chance to do the same with C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. this season.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Bijan Robinson +300 on FanDuel
Bijan Robinson is the favorite to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and he should be. He is the most NFL-ready player from the draft and is in a position that translates well to the college game. He also wound up in the perfect offensive scheme for him to break out in year one.
The Falcons averaged 159.9 rushing yards last season on 32.9 rushing attempts per game, which were second in the league. Over 55% of their offensive snaps were run plays, which explains why they took Robinson with the eighth overall selection in this year’s draft.
Robinson ran for 3,410 yards in his three years in college and accounted for 4,215 yards from scrimmage while adding 41 total touchdowns. If he runs for over 1,000 yards, it takes a phenomenal year for one of the other rookies to beat Robinson for OROY.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba +1400 on FanDuel
Another player that will have an ideal situation is Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Geno Smith burst onto the scene last season after spending most of his career as a backup. He threw for 4,282 yards and led the league with a 69.8% completion percentage.
It makes sense that Seattle drafted Smith-Njigba with the 20th overall pick. He is a tremendous route runner with solid hands. Smith-Njigba is dealing with a hamstring injury but took part in OTAs and has developed some chemistry with Smith.
He will likely line up opposite DK Metcalf, with Tyler Lockett assuming his normal slot receiver position. Smith-Njigba has a great chance to break out since he will not be the focal point of the defense week after week.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Will Anderson Jr. +500 on Caesars
The Houston Texans completed a deal with the Cardinals to select Anderson as the third overall pick. The Texans gave up the 12th and 33rd overall picks this year, a first and a third-round selection next year, and, in return, they received the third overall pick and the 105th pick this year.
The Texans drafted C.J. Stroud as the second overall pick but felt it necessary to move up to take Will Anderson Jr. His sack numbers went down in his final season with Alabama, but he still had 10 after notching 17.5 the season prior.
He will likely enter the season as the favorite to win this award, which makes sense unless he gets injured. The Texans probably will not be a force on offense with a rookie quarterback, and the defense will be on the field plenty.
DeMeco Ryans confirmed that Anderson would line up at defensive end this season, which boosts his chances of earning this award. Sacks and turnovers are the main factors in determining the winner of this award, and Anderson will have plenty of opportunities to make such plays this season.
Christian Gonzalez +1200 on PointsBet
Gonzalez will be in a situation like Sauce Gardner last season. The Patriots’ defense was a big part of them being in the playoff hunt, as they kept them in games while the offense suffered under Matt Patricia.
The Pats lost longtime captain Devin McCourty to retirement but are returning most of the defense that finished the season ranked first in DVOA. Gonzalez figures to be New England’s number-one cornerback for the foreseeable future.
He ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, and, at 6-foot-1, he is big enough to hang with some of the bigger receivers in the game. If New England ranks in the top three in sacks this season like they did last season, Gonzalez could sneak into the conversation for DROY.