Rating the 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the 12 months candidates: High 11 options 4 QBs, one slight favourite


Justin Herbert and Justin Jefferson battled for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the 12 months in 2020, with the electrical Chargers passer in the end successful largely as a result of he set the NFL report for landing passes thrown by a rookie.

This 12 months, there are a plethora of fascinating first-year quarterbacks and offensive skill-position gamers in marquee roles on their respective groups. Let’s rank the seemingly Offensive Rookie of the 12 months candidates for the 2021 season. 

Subsequent to every participant is his OROY odds, set by William Hill Sportsbook.

11. Travis Etienne, RB, Jaguars (+2200)

This low of a rating is just not an indictment of Etienne’s expertise, though he was my RB2 within the 2021 class behind Najee Harris by a relatively huge margin. When his blocking is in sync, prefer it was throughout most of his Clemson profession, Etienne is an enormous play ready to erupt from behind the road of scrimmage.   

His scenario in Jacksonville is just not conducive to successful Offensive Rookie of the 12 months. Give it some thought. At quarterback is probably the most hyped prospect in a decade. In entrance of him on the depth chart is a 1,000-yard runner from a season in the past. There are youthful weapons at receiver, and the offensive line is loaded with uncertainty. Oh, and Etienne is being crossed educated at receiver — a brand new place — early in his professional profession. 

Etienne will most likely hit some explosive performs in Jacksonville in 12 months 1. However he’d have to have an unprecedented marketing campaign to unseat his quarterback from the highlight and, to a lesser diploma, the assortment of skill-position gamers in entrance of him. 

10. Trey Lance, QB, 49ers (+650)

Lance deserves a spot on this listing although he is not in line to begin. Why? As a result of he’ll play in 2021. This isn’t a Patrick Mahomes redshirt scenario. Issues must go nearly completely for veteran Jimmy Garoppolo to safe the beginning gig the complete season. 

And whereas I will by no means predict an damage, if there are any dips in Garoppolo’s play this season, there will be a refrain of individuals — seemingly necessary, entrance workplace varieties — demanding Lance see the sector in probably the most quarterback-friendly system within the league. And with Lance comes variations of Shanahan’s offense not seen since Robert Griffin III’s rookie season when he gained … Offensive Rookie of the 12 months. 

Positive, Lance is uncooked. But when any head coach can masks rawness, it is Shanahan. And Lance is unbelievably gifted as a passer and runner. Whereas it’d take an early-season supplanting of Garoppolo to win this award, Lance with Shanahan and San Francisco’s offensive skill-position gamers completely may get it achieved. 

9. Najee Harris, RB, Steelers (+1400)

Harris was my RB1 within the 2021 class. Le’Veon Bell 2.0. It is good the Steelers drafted him. And unsurprising. Given the downturn we have seen in Ben Roethlisberger’s play of late, the Steelers will seemingly flip to their versatile offensive weapon early and sometimes, and massive statistical output at all times boots a runner’s Offensive Rookie of the 12 months possibilities. 

Pittsburgh’s line is in flux. Or, it is not less than going to take half a season for brand new items — presumably together with two rookies — to gel right into a bonded unit that constantly paves lanes for this massive, gifted again. 

A powerful second half of 2021 will push Harris up OROY boards, however he is most likely a 12 months away from having a monster season within the NFL. Look out for him as a cross catcher, too. Finest receiving again on this draft class. 

8. Zach Wilson, QB, Jets (+700)

Shocked? Rightfully so. Wilson was my QB2 on this class. Everyone beloved him as a prospect. I am simply very skeptical of the atmosphere the Jets have for Wilson … in his rookie season. Are the forged of characters higher than they had been for Sam Darnold at any level of his disappointing tenure with Gang Inexperienced? Yeah. However they set a low bar. 

The pass-catching choices are stable, albeit unspectacular. The precise aspect of the offensive line is just not solidified. Wilson has a first-time, defensive-minded head coach. Positive, the expectations for the Jets are comparatively low, a high quality foundational ingredient to an Offensive Rookie of the 12 months marketing campaign. But Wilson is in for a impolite awakening when it comes to strain fee from what he confronted in his breakout 2020 that catapulted him from obscurity into the No. 2 total slot within the draft. 

And usually younger quarterbacks — even the ultra-talented, correct, and cerebral ones — take time to acclimate to coping with strain on the NFL degree. Wilson will flash as a rookie. However I do not imagine he or the Jets shall be fairly ok in 2021 for him to be one of many favorites to win Offensive Rookie of the 12 months. 

7. Devonta Smith, WR, Eagles (+1200)

I am so glad Smith gained the Heisman. It was refreshing to see voters get it proper no matter place. He was one of the best participant in school soccer final season, an impressive producer in each method, in each recreation, the heartbeat of the ridiculously environment friendly nationwide title-winning Crimson Tide. 

He is an enigma as a result of it appears to be like like he by no means stepped foot in Alabama’s NFL-caliber weight room throughout his 4 years with this system. However he is easy. On vertical routes, after the catch, when extending for a excessive throw. Smith goes to be a dependable NFL wideout. 

At this level, although, I haven’t got sufficient religion in his younger quarterback, Jalen Hurts, for Smith to be a critical OROY contender. The offensive line is a shell of its former self and the Eagles are extra rebuilding than they’re able to win in 2021. Smith goes to supply. Little doubt. At a Offensive Rookie of the 12 months degree? No.

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6. Rashod Bateman, WR, Ravens (+5000)

Bateman is your man in the event you’ve been scouring a worth choose for Offensive Rookie of the 12 months. It was a problem to discover a blatant flaw to his recreation. And he was productive for back-to-back seasons at a younger age at Minnesota. He was 19 firstly of the 2019 marketing campaign when he caught 60 passes for over 1,200 yards with 11 touchdowns on a workforce with one other NFL receiver on it. Spectacular. 

And Baltimore wants to extend its cross recreation — the utilization and effectivity of it. Bateman has the talents to be integral in each issues occurring in 2020. And if Lamar Jackson takes a step ahead as a passer, it will be straightforward to level to the workforce’s first-round choose as a predominant cause why, particularly given the lackluster group of veterans at receiver on the Ravens roster. 

5. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Dolphins (+1600)

This rating is usually tied to how immensely gifted I imagine Waddle is. He is exceptionally quick, fast, and performs like he is 6-4 due to his leaping means and ball-tracking brilliance. I felt as assured as attainable about my pre-draft Tyreek Hill comparability for him. 

There are two causes my WR1 within the 2021 class is not larger — his quarterback, and the receiver expertise in entrance of him on Miami’s roster. Tua Tagovailoa’s play in 2020 raised considerably extra questions than solutions. Whereas correct, his arm expertise is NFL common, as is his athleticism. 

And there is DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, Jakeem Grant, and Will Fuller technically in entrance of him in Miami’s assortment of cross catchers. Waddle completely shall be an explosive weapon as a rookie. And the massive performs will occur often sufficient that he’ll obtain some OROY consideration at situations all through the season. 

4. Kyle Pitts, TE, Falcons (+1200)

Let’s name them the Atlanta Matchup Nightmares this season. Julio Jones has been one his whole NFL profession. Calvin Ridley proved himself in 2021 within the absence of Jones, and now Pitts resides at tight finish. 

And with Matt Ryan locked in because the starter for the following two seasons, the Falcons are going to air it out. Usually. Final 12 months, he quietly led the NFL in completions and makes an attempt, and the Falcons did not draft a working again. Ryan’s going to throw it round 40 instances per recreation — there will be loads of alternative for Pitts even on a workforce with two 1,000-yard receivers. 

Pitts goes to be positioned in advantageous conditions coverage-wise. He’ll see linebackers and safeties often. And is a slot nook matching up with him? Zero likelihood. Not at nearly 6-6 and 245 kilos with practically 34-inch arms and complicated route-running capabilities. The Falcons must be improved in 2021, and an uptick within the win column from the earlier season is not needed however at all times helps a star first-year participant’s Offensive Rookie of the 12 months possibilities. 

3. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Bengals (+1400)

Chase brings a WR1 talent set to the NFL. He is deceptively fast out and in of his breaks to get open on a routine foundation. He dominates on the catch level down the sector, and he is A.J. Brown 2.0 after the catch because of a thick decrease half and working back-like contact stability. 

And he is reuniting along with his man, Joe Burrow, in Cincinnati. Positive, there are some good, younger weapons round him in Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, however Chase was picked to be the highest precedence within the cross recreation from Week 1. And Burrow was averaging greater than 40 makes an attempt per recreation earlier than his damage within the tenth recreation final season. The Bengals wish to be cross pleased. And keep in mind, head coach Zac Taylor is a Sean McVay disciple, and McVay adores the three-receiver set. Now Cincinnati has a good “11 Personnel” grouping. 

2. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jaguars (+275)

Here is the layup-line Offensive Rookie and 12 months choice. Lawrence is the finest quarterback prospect of the previous 40 years. He exemplifies the time period “professional prepared.” There shall be distinct flashes from a Jaguars workforce originally phases of a large reconstruction course of. 

The skill-position expertise is sweet for a membership that went 1-15. D.J. Chark has legitimized himself as a real WR1. Laviska Shenault was incredible as a rookie. Undrafted free agent James Robinson went over 1,000 yards on the bottom in 2020. 

And, due to his immense hype, Lawrence will begin the season with an early lead for Offensive Rookie of the 12 months. Oftentimes, if no different rookie has a transcendent debut season, probably the most wanted prospect within the draft takes residence the award nearly by default. I am involved about Jacksonville’s offensive line and City Meyer micromanaging. However Lawrence will enhance the Jaguars franchise from the soar within the NFL and earn critical OROY consideration. Lawrence jogs my memory lots of final 12 months’s winner of this award. 

1. Justin Fields, QB, Bears (+550)

Fields is my Offensive Rookie of the 12 months choice for a large number of causes, his phenomenal expertise chief amongst them. On the sector, he is Deshaun Watson 2.0, a receiver-caliber athlete enjoying quarterback with an enormous arm, good coverage-reading tendencies, and a propensity to tear it deep down the sector and drop it into the bucket. 

And he lands with a Bears franchise ravenous for quarterbacking mastery. It has been so lengthy. Too lengthy. Fields inherits a bunch completely suited to assist him win OROY. Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Darnell Mooney, and Cole Kmet aren’t so good {that a} sturdy rookie season from Chicago’s first-round choose shall be considered as buoyed by skill-position expertise. However they’re competent, ripe to be elevated by an ultra-talented quarterback. And that is exactly what the Bears have in Fields. 

Due to his fall to No. 11 total, he’ll be considered as considerably of an underdog story, and if Fields has the Bears within the playoffs once more — this time with an environment friendly offense — it will be straightforward for him to be considered as a the front-runner for Offensive Rookie of the 12 months.



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