This draft is loaded with offense, said absolutely nobody leading up to the first round. And yet, seven of the first ten picks in the 2017 NFL Draft were point scorers, not point preventers. Heck, the offensive prospects were so good, the Bears threw caution and common sense to the wind just to get their hands on the first one. The Chiefs soon followed suit, trading up to grab a kid who likely won’t even play this season.
All that tells me that the race for Offensive Rookie of the Year is going to be extra special this season, and I haven’t even seen who went in the second round yet because I’m writing this on Friday morning. And I can’t wait for it. I have to set odds now! My editor says so! Here are the favorites to win Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2017.
Oh and I’ll also (get forced to) include odds for who will emerge from that boring, terrible, no-good class of defensive rookies.
2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds
- Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans: 11/2
- O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7/1
- Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars: 9/1
- Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans: 9/1
- Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers: 11/1
- John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals: 11/1
- Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers: 11/1
- Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears: 18/1
It’s incredibly fortuitous that O.J. Howard fell to the Buccaneers, because for the life of me, I couldn’t remember who their current starting tight end was. Now I don’t have to! Howard is going to an offense on the cusp of greatness after Tampa paired DeSean Jackson with Mike Evans on the outside this offseason. As long as Jameis Winston continues to take strides forward, the big Alabama target should put up some great numbers in his first year, and potentially become the first tight end to win the honor.
Of course, the favorite will almost always be a quarterback, and Deshaun Watson finds himself in the best situation to win right now, joining a Texans team coming off back-to-back playoff appearances. All he has to do is beat out Tom Savage for the starting role, or wait for his glass bones to give out in Week 2. As for Trubisky, he’ll start eventually, but throwing to Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton and whatever remains of Kevin White will probably not lead to a big trophy.
For running backs, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey will both get a chance to make a big impact in their rookie year. However, neither is working behind an offensive line even close to the one Ezekiel Elliott had the advantage of playing with when he took the league by storm. I’ll be shocked if either tops 1,000 yards, especially McCaffrey, who will split time with Jonathan Stewart.
The x-factors in this race are a versatile crop of receivers, each of whom will be asked to do different things in their first season. Corey Davis is instantly the best receiver on Tennessee; John Ross could be a great no. 2 across from A.J. Green; Mike Williams may start from day one, or get buried behind Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman on the depth chart.
2017 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds
- Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns: 7/2
- Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints: 8/1
- Jamal Adams, New York Jets: 8/1
- Takkarist McKinley, Atlanta Falcons: 9/1
- T.J Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers: 12/1
- Malik Hooker, Indianapolis Colts: 12/1
- Reuben Foster, San Francisco 49ers: 14/1
- Jonathan Allen, Washington Redskins: 16/1
After Thursday night, I sure do want to put Tak McKinley first in these odds, because he’s a crazy-motivated (perhaps “crazy, motivated”) young man. But there’s a reason Myles Garrett was on the top of draft board: he’s a quarterback hunting machine.
One thing McKinley has working in his favor is playing opposite 2016 sack leader Vic Beasley. Drawing easier blocking matchups, McKinley could end up leading all rookies in sacks. Watch out for T.J. Watt too; pass rushing and having a chip on your shoulder runs in the family.
However, interceptions may be the stat that decides this year’s race, as a bunch of these highly drafted players are roaming the secondary. Corner Marshon Lattimore fell to a desperate Saints team that was trying to acquire Malcolm Butler in March, while the Jets avoided grabbing a QB, instead getting top rated safety Jamal Adams. Both will be looked at to make a difference right away on defenses that aren’t really scaring opponents at the moment.