Rookie Watch: QBs, RBs, and Long-Shots for Offensive Rookie of the Year


Aug 18, 2023

With the 2023 NFL season quickly approaching, all eyes are on the new wave of rookie players entering the league. It’s an exciting time for fans, coaches, and players, with sky-high expectations for this year’s incoming rookie class.

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Three quarterbacks were taken in the top four of the 2023 NFL Draft: Bryce Young first overall to the Carolina Panthers, CJ Stroud second overall to the Houston Texans, and Anthony Richardson fourth overall to the Indianapolis Colts. Young and Richardson have already been announced as starters for Week 1 of the regular season. We anticipate Stroud will also get the nod as the starting quarterback for the Texans, though there has been no official confirmation.

Despite the high draft picks and the promise of these quarterbacks, it’s a running back that tops the odds for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Bijan Robinson of the Atlanta Falcons is the favorite at +300. This doesn’t come as a surprise, considering that only three quarterbacks have claimed the prestigious Offensive Rookie of the Year award over the past decade. For a quarterback to win, they need a standout season – and that’s no small feat.

So, what does it take for a quarterback to be crowned Offensive Rookie of the Year? Historically, it’s more than just starting games and putting up decent numbers. It requires a level of performance that truly stands out, something akin to what Justin Herbert and Kyler Murray did in their respective rookie seasons. These two players took the league by storm, performing at an exceptional level right out of the gate.

Given the competitive nature of the NFL and the challenges rookies face in adapting to the speed and complexity of the pro game, it’s tough to see any of the top three drafted quarterbacks matching the impact that Herbert and Murray had in their first seasons. Young may have a chance to shine in a weaker NFC South division and possibly lead the Panthers to a playoff berth.

For those looking to gamble on a long shot, look no further than Zay Flowers at +2600. The rookie wide receiver is already emerging as the top target for the Baltimore Ravens. With Rashod Bateman struggling to stay healthy and Odell Beckham coming off knee surgery, Flowers could quickly become a focal point in the Ravens’ offense. Expect his odds to shorten significantly by mid-season, making him an intriguing bet for those willing to take a chance.

Overall, the race for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award is shaping up to be exciting. While Robinson remains the favorite, Young could make some noise if he can lead the Panthers to a successful season. And for those willing to take a risk, Flowers offers a tantalizing long-shot option. It will be thrilling to watch these rookies compete for one of the NFL’s most coveted awards.

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Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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