Now that the NFL Draft is complete and we know exactly where each rookie will be playing in 2022, it’s time to turn our attention to the best candidates to win both the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Years for 2022.
- Kenny Pickett (+650)
- Drake London (+650)
- Treylon Burks (+750)
- Garrett Wilson (+800)
- Breece Hall (+900)
- Christian Watson (+900)
Unlike most of the rookie quarterbacks last season, we still aren’t sure that Kenny Pickett will be the starting quarterback in Pittsburgh. Head coach Mike Tomlin did say that Pickett will be given the chance to win the job in training camp, and that was enough to push him to the top of the betting board.
The Jets drafted an excellent haul of talent during their weekend in Vegas, and two of their rookies are on this list - wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall. However, it’s worth noting that both of the Jets’ offensive rookies will have to fight for touches.
Wilson joins a receivers room that has Corey Davis and Elijah Moore. Hall will have to share running back touches with Michael Carter.
The depth of the wide receiver draft class is noticeable in this list, with Drake London in Atlanta, Treylon Burks with the Titans, and Christian Watson in Green Bay. All three will become featured players in their offenses to begin the season.
London will be teamed with last year’s standout rookie, tight end Kyle Pitts. Burks moves into a starting role with the trade of A.J. Brown, although Derek Henry remains the top offensive weapon in Tennessee. Watson has great speed and athleticism, and of course, he has Aaron Rodgers throwing him the football.
- Aidan Hutchinson (+450)
- Kayvon Thibodeaux (+450)
- Travon Walker (+750)
- Quay Walker (+800)
- Jermaine Johnson (+900)
- Derek Stingley, Jr. (+900)
Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson was passed over as the top pick in the NFL Draft, but he is tied atop of the board as the betting favorite to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year. He will start for the hometown Lions, and his impact should be felt immediately.
Kayvon Thibodeaux went to the Giants with the fifth overall pick, and he is tied with Hutchinson at +450. The former Oregon Duck was ranked first overall by many draft experts, and he’s already getting NFL pass rushing advice from Giants legend Michael Strahan. Strahan had just a single sack in his rookie season but finished his career 141.5.
Travon Walker was taken by the Jaguars first overall, but he’s only fourth on the list of the favorites. He’s an athletic specimen, and his ceiling is high, but his statistical production was never that impressive at Georgia, and that could hurt when it comes time to vote for DROY.
Walker’s Georgia teammate, Quay Walker, should have a big year as the newest member of the Packers defense. Instead of Green Bay selecting a wide receiver in the first round, they went with the incredibly gifted linebacker.
Post-Draft Betting Falls
Prior to the draft, Liberty quarterback Malik Willis was the third betting favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year at +675. After falling all the way to Tennessee in the third round, he’s now 11th on the odds board at +1100, tied with Kenneth Walker, Chris Olave, and Skyy Moore.
There was less movement on the defensive side of the ball. Pre-draft, the top cornerback was Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. But Derek Stingley Jr. was the first corner off the draft board, and he’s now the top corner for DROY at +900. Gardner has dropped to +1000.