Kyler Murray took the home the honors of Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2019. In the current NFL, quarterbacks run the league, and this won’t stop anytime soon. In the 2010s, a quarterback took home the hardware five times, runningbacks won ROY four times, and Odell Beckham Jr. was the lone receiver to win Rookie of the Year. Looking at the 2020-21 odds, number one draft pick Joe Burrow is the favorite to win followed by college teammate Clyde Edward-Helaire, and Tua Tagovailoa round out the top three.
|Henry Rugs III||WR||Raiders||+1800|
|Laviska Shenault Jr.||WR||Jaguars||+3500|
|Michael Pittman Jr.||WR||Colts||+4000|
Last season, Kyler Murray received 26.5 votes to take home OROY beating out Josh Jacobs (13), A.J. Brown (9.5), and Miles Sanders (1). Murray threw for 0ver 3700 yards on a 64.4 completion percentage. He also threw 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Only in recent years have quarterbacks won OROY. In 1970, Dennis Shaw was the first quarterback to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. After Shaw, it took 34 years for a quarterback to win the honors again when Ben Roethlisberger did so in 2004. Since Big Ben in ’04, eight quarterbacks have won the award in 16 seasons. There’s no surprise that Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa are at the top of the board for Rookie of the Year odds.
Heisman and National Champion Joe Burrow sits at +220 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. In 2019, Joe Burrow had one of the most exceptional single-season performances of any college quarterback. At LSU, he threw for over 5600 passing while completing 76 percent of his passes. Also, he threw 60 touchdown passes and six interceptions. With his 60 touchdowns, Burrow broke the single-season touchdown record passing Colt Brennan. The Bengals selected Burrow number one overall in this year’s NFL draft. Offensively, the Bengals have some talent for Burrow to work. Their offensive line is still below-average, but good enough where they won’t get their rookie quarterback running for his life. The Bengals have Joe Mixon in the backfield to hand the ball off too. Also, Tyler Boyd and the speedster John Ross III are reliable go-to’s at receiver. Cincinnati also brought in Clemson rookie receiver Tee Higgins for an added weapon. However, the most significant question mark remains A.J. Green. He did not play all of 2019 due to an ankle, and also missed seven games in 2018. Green is a seven-time pro bowl receiver, and at 32, he would be the biggest weapon for Burrow. If Green plays in 2020, then that’ll help Burrow get used to throwing to quality NFL receivers.
Next in Line
Joe Burrow’s college teammate Clyde Edwards-Helaire has the second-highest odds to win OROY.
Edwards-Helaire was a surprise pick at the end of the first round in this year’s draft. However, he ended up in one of the best situations for himself. The Kansas City Chiefs took him with the 32nd pick and will be another weapon for Patrick Mahomes. Edwards-Helaire played a considerable run in last year’s LSU national championship run. He had over 1400 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. Everyone wants to talk about the season Joe Burrow had, but there isn’t enough credit that goes to Edwards-Helaire. The one issue that might hurt his chances at OROY is running back Damien Williams. Williams played a huge role in the playoffs rushing for 400 yards, and four touchdowns in the Chiefs Super Bowl run. Now, he’s projected as the number one back but started to get up there in age. Both backs might have a specific role in Andy Reid’s offense. However, if Edwards-Helaire becomes the premiere back, don’t be surprised the numbers he can put up in the Chiefs offense.
Tua Tagovailoa is another quarterback that sits towards the top of the board. Tagaovailoa is +750 to Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, despite Miami having a better season than Cincinnati, Tagovailoa’s situation isn’t as lovely. First, Tua is coming off a gruesome hip injury. He expects to be ready to go by the start of the season, but there’s no telling if he’ll be the week one starter. Ryan Fitzpatrick could be this year’s Dolphins starter as Miami is tanking to rebuild their franchise. The Dolphins could rest Tagovailoa until they know he is 100 percent healthy. However, Tua does have the skills to be the best rookie quarterback in 2020. In his three seasons at Alabama, Tagovailoa threw for over 7400 passing yards and 87 touchdowns while helping his team win a national title in 2017. Tua was the favorite to be the number one overall pick heading into the 2019 college football season. However, given Joe Burrow’s incredible and the hip injury Tua suffered, he fell to five to the Miami Dolphins.
Out of the group of receivers, Jerry Jeudy at +1500 might have the right situation to be the first wideout to win Offensive Rookie of the Year since Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014. For a receiver to win the award, the situation has to feel right. The team most likely has a good quarterback, but no go-to receivers on the team. Also, the receiver needs to be a reliable pass-catcher who can make a play anytime he wants. The Broncos have that with Jeudy. Last year, the Broncos didn’t have a true go-to receiver. Courtland Sutton had over 1000 receiving yards, but no one came within 500 yards of him. Drew Lock or Joe Flacco will be the starter, and both get the ball to Jeudy. In 2019, Jeudy had over 1100 receiving yards and ten touchdowns in his final season at Alabama. Also, he has the speed to take the top off a defense and make big plays when he needs too. In this NFL, it’s hard for a receiver to get recognition, but Jeudy at least is in the right situation to make it happen.
This was tough to go between Jonathan Taylor at +1000 and D’Andre Swift at +1100, so we’ll talk about both. First, Swift has a better situation than Taylor. The Lions rushing attack was nowhere to be found last season, and with Matt Stafford coming back, Swift should have more opportunities. In Indianapolis, Taylor will be sharing the backfield with Marlon Mack. However, that shouldn’t scare bettors. In 2017, Alvin Kamara shared a backfield with Mark Ingram and won OROY. Kamara was a big factor in the passing game, and Taylor needs to have that effect if he wants to win the award. Taylor had one of the greatest college careers a running back could have. Also, he had five receiving touchdowns in 2019. Swift should be the number one guy in week one. If Stafford continues to air it out as he does, then defenses might not be prepared to stop him on the ground.
The third quarterback taken off the board was Justin Herbert, as he currently sits at +2000 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Herbert was drafted sixth to L.A. Chargers and will be in a quarterback battle with Tyrod Taylor. Right now, there’s no telling if Herbert will start week one, but has the tools around him to succeed. In 2019, Herbert threw for over 3400 passing yards, and 32 touchdowns on 67 percent completed passes. Oregon missed an opportunity to play for the College Football Playoff. However, Herbert showed he has the intangibles to an NFL starting quarterback. He’ll have Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to throw too in his rookie season. Despite the offense being inconsistent in 2019, Herbert has a chance to come in and surprise people by his ability.
A.J. Dillon might quietly be the best longshot on the board for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Dillon sits at +7500 odds to win OROY, as of writing this. He was a workhorse at Boston College rushing for over 4300 yards in his career, and 1685 yards in 2019. Dillon didn’t receive the national credit he deserved being on a lousy Boston College team. However, his size and speed as a back make him a great candidate for OROY. Aaron Jones did have a breakout season, but running backs come and frequently go in this league. Also, Jones is better in the passing game and could be more of a focus there while Dillon gets touches on the ground. The Packers offense could take some pressure off of Aaron Rodgers as he enters his late thirties.
Best of the Rest
CeeDee Lamb is arguably the best receiver taken in this year’s NFL Draft. Lamb has the seventh-best odds and sits at +1500 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. In 2019, Lamb had over 1300 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. He’s an all-around top-end receiver, and fortunate to be drafted by a team like the Cowboys who have a quarterback that can get him the ball. Despite Lamb being a great talent and going into a great situation, he does have competition with other receivers. Amari Cooper, the team’s number one target will be lined up on the other side of Lamb. Cooper is one of the league’s best pass-catchers and will take some targets away from Lamb. However, this doesn’t mean Lamb doesn’t have a shot. In 2014, Odell Beckham Jr. had 1300 receiving yards, and Ruben Randle had 938. Both players can still get their touches while also giving Lamb a shot at OROY.
The NFL’s number one rushing offense adds another weapon to their backfield. J.K. Dobbins is currently +1600 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. In his final season at Ohio State, Dobbins ran for over 2000 yards and scored 21 touchdowns. He’ll be a great right-hand man for MVP Lamar Jackson and will share a backfield with Mark Ingram. The 30-year-old running back did have over 1000 yards rushing last season. However, running backs over 30 tend to lose their step. Also, when Alvin Kamara won OROY in 2017, he shared a backfield with Ingram. Given how the Ravens run their offense, Ingram could share the backfield with the Offensive Player of the Year. Sitting at +1600 wouldn’t be a terrible number to take a stab.