The Offensive Rookie of the Year award has been dominated by quarterbacks and running backs. This year three of the top six picks in the 2021 NFL Draft were Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle. You can add a fourth in top 10 with the Philadelphia Eagles trading up to select Alabama WR DeVonta Smith. Can one of these pass catchers take home the trophy this year? Below are my 2021 NFL Rookie of the Year Best Bets.
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (2014) is the only non-quarterback / running back to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award since 2009 when wide receiver Percy Harvin did it with the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings also can take credit for the other non-QB / RB OROY in recent memory, when in 1998 Randy Moss was introduced to the NFL.
This year, the only real chance for a pass-catcher to win the 2021 NFL Rookie of the Year award is Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts. That would make Pitts the first rookie TE to earn that honor. Pitts was selected 4th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.
2021 NFL Rookie of the Year Best Bets
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (+350 DK SportsBook)
The first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is the only quarterback with a starting job. Sure, he is already down a weapon losing his college teammate running back Travis Etienne to a season-ending injury but the Jaguars are primed to be garbage time darlings this season.
Jacksonville might not win many games this season but the offense has the potential to fill up box scores in meaningless fourth quarters.
Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears (+600)
There is only one good reason Fields is not starting for the Bears in Week 1. His name is Aaron Donald. Andy Dalton won’t see too many more starts after the first Sunday Night Football game of the season.
Fields has the potential to outperform Lawrence and win more games (thanks to the Bears defense) en route to winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He will have Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, David Montgomery and a collection of tight ends to thank while accepting his award.
Only Matt Nagy can keep Fields from winning this award by keeping Dalton as the starter.
Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers(+800)
Harris is one of 10 running backs projected to see 250+ carries, according to FantasyData.com.
The only thing that will slow him down is the Steelers woeful offensive line. But between all those carries and 50+ targets, Harris should score at least 10 touchdowns this season.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons (+1000)
Pitts has a legit shot at winning the 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He is a wide receiver, built like and playing the tight end position.
With Julio Jones gone Matt Ryan is going to feed Pitts and Calvin Ridley. Kyle Pitts has the potential to record the most single-season receptions from a rookie tight end, currently held by the Philadelphia Eagles Keith Jackson (81). Pitts will get an extra game this season to do so.
I am not sure he challenges Mike Ditka‘s 1,076 rookie receiving yards or 12 touchdowns but if he even gets near it, it will be all the media will cover when talking about the Atlanta Falcons.
Trey Lance, QB, San Francisco 49ers (+750)
Lance is a talented player who will be featured in highlight reels every week. However, it looks like he is going to split QB duties with Jimmy Garoppolo, limiting his chances at winning the 2021 NFL Rookie of the Year Award.
Mac Jones, QB, New England Patriots (+1000)
Jones appears to have won the starting quarterback job but Bill Belichick is doing his best to keep the media on its toes and won’t announce it.
Of all the rookie QBs, Jones is operating the least talented offense – but behind the best offensive line. Still, unless Jones can lead the Patriots to a division title, the offense just won’t be powerful enough for Jones to win the 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award, in my opinion.
— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) August 31, 2021
Even with the release of Cam Newton, I do not believe the Patriots offense will be good enough for Mac Jones to win the 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos (+1600)
Williams will be sharing the backfield with Melvin Gordon and the Broncos quarterback situation is not great.
Why didn’t they just draft Justin Fields instead of Patrick Surtain II in the first round?!
DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (+2200)
Smith should lead the Eagles in targets but what type of chemistry will he and QB Jalen Hurts develop this season? Will Hurts be able to take advantage of Smith’s elite route running or will he already be scrambling by the time Smith finishes his route down the field?
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins (+2000)
I love how the Dolphins have been rebuilding their roster. However, they do not have a bonafide WR1 on the depth chart. Tua Tagovailoa is likely to spread the ball all over the field to Waddle, Will Fuller, DeVante Parker & Mike Gesicki.
This offense won’t be explosive but they will keep the chains moving.
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (+1600)
He dropped all 3 passes.pic.twitter.com/aqQ4nRQ6RY
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 21, 2021
Also, not sure what was going on during the preseason but Chase dropped nearly every target he saw.
Rondale Moore, WR, Arizona Cardinals (+5000)
Moore is the perfect weapon for Kyler Murray, but with DeAndre Hopkins eating all a majority of the targets and Christian Kirk & A.J. Green around, Moore’s upside will be limited. He will be featured in the offense and when it hits you will see it on SportsCenter.
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