- Rookie QBs have struggled in 2018
- With little competition for Saquon Barkley in the race for 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, one online sports betting site has done the unthinkable
- Is there any chance an offensive lineman can win the award?
Offensive linemen in the NFL do not receive the credit they deserve.
Call me crazy, but if I were building a team from scratch, I would prefer to have the five best offensive linemen available over the best quarterback, running back, and wide receiver.
The guys up front are often the ones who really win football games. And a good offensive line can make a QB/RB look very good.
But even I was taken aback when I came across Quenton Nelson’s name on the list of players receiving odds to win 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. (See the Top 7 tab in the graph below.)
2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Don’t get me wrong, the sixth-overall pick from the 2018 NFL Draft has been fantastic for Indianapolis this season. He grades out at 70.2, per PFF, which is good for 16th in the NFL at his position (guard).
But +5000 odds for an offensive lineman to win OROY …?
Odds to Win NFL OROY at Bovada
|Player||Pos||Odds to win 2018 NFL OROY at Bovada|
Nelson has Arguably Been the Most Impactful Rookie in 2018
Back in 2016, Andrew Luck was sacked 41 times in just 15 games. And looking to his other four years as a pro, he was sacked at least twice per game, outside of 2014 – sacked 27 times in 16 games.
It’s no wonder Luck missed all of 2017 with an injury. How can you expect anyone to stay healthy when they’re taking that kind of beating so often?
But all that has changed in 2018. Nelson has been a huge part of the much-improved offensive line playing in front of Luck this season, who has only been sacked 10 times this season – the second-fewest in the NFL.
And Bovada isn’t the only one noticing Nelson’s impact. Plenty of analysts and fans have taken to Twitter to rave about the rookie lineman.
I ❤️ Quenton Nelson. https://t.co/KvoWO9lOxm
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) September 19, 2018
.@Colts #colts @BigQ56 thank you for making my Monday my Funday and restoring my faith in great OL play. Colts are building a “brotherhood” week by week and I can’t wait for next Monday. This is awesome football #BaldysBreakdown pic.twitter.com/unPswP17yv
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) October 29, 2018
— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) September 17, 2018
Quenton Nelson really likes to finish blocks. pic.twitter.com/wzjPbiTmuk
— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 11, 2018
But there’s just one problem: where are the touchdowns? Where’s the razzle-dazzle?
This is what the voters look for when selecting an Offensive Rookie of the Year, and it’s the reason no offensive lineman has ever won the award.
Quenton Nelson is the first guard ever to win NFL offensive rookie of the month https://t.co/itxFagDck6
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 1, 2018
Nelson did just become the first guard to ever win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month, but no way he’s actually in consideration for OROY.
Why is Nelson a Candidate if He Has no Chance?
This year’s rookie quarterbacks have been bad.
Baker Mayfield remains the position’s last hope of claiming the award, but he has thrown just 10 touchdowns to 7 interceptions, posting an underwhelming 81.5 passer rating this season. And to top it off, he’s 1-5 as a starter.
As you probably noticed, no other rookie QB even made the board this week. None of Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, or Sam Darnold were receiving odds to win OROY at any of our most trusted online sports betting sites.
Four sacks and four interceptions (one a pick-6). 😱
— NFL (@NFL) November 5, 2018
Why? Because Darnold is the only one of the three averaging more than 180 passing yards per game – he averages 214.9 – they all have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns – Darnold leads the league with 14 – and all have passer ratings under 70.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why we have an offensive lineman in the OROY race.
Who’s the Best Bet for OROY?
In case I hadn’t already made it clear, it’s not Quenton Nelson.
You’re best to either swallow the extremely short odds with Saquon Barkley, or take Baker at +400 and hope new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens can put the pivot in better situations to succeed over the second half of the season.