- Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett is the favorite to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, while Lions edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson is the top choice to win NFL Defensive ROY
- A slew of first-year receivers are also in the mix on the offensive side, while an eclectic group of contenders on the defensive side
- Updated odds and analysis below on which players are the best bets
Immediately following the 2022 NFL Draft earlier this year, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett was installed as a +550 favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The first-year player out of reigning ACC champion Pittsburgh has seen his odds drop slightly to +700 — but he’s still the favorite heading into Week 1.
2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Odds as of September 4 at Barstool Sportsbook
Pickett Facing Stiff Competition
The Steel City rookie may be the odds-on choice, but he’s facing some factors that could stand in his way of winning this award.
First, it figures fellow former first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky will be given a legit opportunity to succeed under future Hall of Fame head coach Mike Tomlin — who previously had Big Ben as his guy during his entire tenure.
If Trubisky falters early, a possible scenario could see Pickett take over as the starter in Week 4 following Pittsburgh’s mini-bye following a Thursday Night Football game against the Browns in Week 3. The local kid did sparkle during the preseason.
The rook's first preseason:
— NFL (@NFL) August 29, 2022
But, the running back position has dominated this award over the last nine seasons, four times. You might think that would open things up for Hall — the next betting choice at +800. But, the player to keep an eye on is Dameon Pierce.
Yes, Houston’s probable overall 2022 game script scenario isn’t super-attractive. But Pierce simply has a nose for the end zone (16 total touchdowns in just 119 touches at Florida last year) and will be the No. 1 back for veteran head coach Lovie Smith entering this season.
Dameon Pierce is a future star ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/XPSjBZkCOZ
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) August 29, 2022
According to a poll by NFL.com staff, their top choice was Olave. The talented former Buckeye is proficient with the deep ball — something a healthy Jameis Winson loves to throw.
With defenses focusing on Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, Olave could see lots of 1-on-1 coverage. Pickett’s rookie target Pickens is another possibility. But, fantasy experts love Pierce — and at a somewhat discounted price, so do I.
- The pick: Dameon Pierce +1100
On the defensive side, Detroit Lions edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson opened as a +400 favorite to earn DROY honors over Jacksonville’s No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker. Over the last four months, those odds haven’t changed drastically — with Hutchinson still the top choice.
2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Odds as of September 4th at Barstool Sportsbook
Hutchinson vs. the Field
This one is a little harder to handicap, with Hutchinson being the clear favorite. But, the former Wolverine may be benefiting slightly from a “Hard Knocks” bump.
Yes, the Michigan product set a single-season record for his alma mater with 14 sacks in his senior year. But the HBO show has a tendency to inflate prospects for players. Then again, he does have a motor.
Aidan Hutchinson gets in there for the 3rd down sack💪pic.twitter.com/8YG7zNb9LP
— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 28, 2022
Some history to keep in mind when placing bets. No safety has won this award since 1990. Meanwhile since 2009, Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson (2013) is the lone winner from the SEC. A Big Ten player has won five of the last six seasons. And only two cornerbacks have won since 1999.
If it’s not Hutchinson, Thibodeaux could be a sneaky play at +900. He finished his Oregon career with 126 tackles, including 35.5 tackles for loss and 19 sacks across 30 games.
But can he stay on the field? A sprained MCL will likely keep him out Week 1. Considering all the trends, Hutchinson is a solid play.
- The pick: Aidan Hutchinson +450