The 2022-23 NFL Rookie of the Year candidates are all over the place at this stage of the year. With only three weeks of preseason action giving us just a brief glimpse of these rooks as they transition to the pros, there’s not a lot to go off. Still, we’re highlighting some of the most-likely contestants with the information we have so far.
Let’s dive into some of the top candidates to win the 2022-23 NFL Rookie of the Year award.
Honorable mentions for NFL Rookie of the Year
- Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints
- Jordan Davis, DT, Philadelphia Eagles
- Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, New York Jets
- Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders
- Jameson Williams, WR, Detroit Lions
2022-23 NFL Rookie of the Year candidates
10. Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons
It didn’t take long for Drake London to get involved, hauling in a 24-yard reception in his preseason debut. Unfortunately, he quickly had to leave the game with a knee injury and obviously did not return in the exhibition matchup. It’s not believed to be a serious issue and we should see Drake ready to go for the regular season, but concerns are growing. A mismatch waiting to happen, London’s size is going to help him win a lot of 50-50 balls.
9. Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets
The Jets didn’t allow Breece Hall to stretch his legs much in his first taste of the NFL during preseason play. He had just 14 carries for 29 yards, but we already know what this potential superstar can do, based on his outstanding college career at Iowa State. We don’t have any questions about his abilities translating to the pros. We just want to see the Jets feed the man, yet Michael Carter could get in the way, as he’s also quite talented.
8. Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans
Reports have been all over the place on Treylon Burks to begin his NFL career. First, it was some reported breathing issues as he adjusted to Titans camp, but those days are long behind Burks. We didn’t get to see much of Burks do a ton in preseason action, but we like his chances to win Rookie of the Year for a few reasons. His size and speed combination is unique, but his bigger build may allow him to handle a Deebo Samuel-like role for the Titans. If they can get creative and feed their first-round receiver, he could have a beastly season.
7. Sauce Gardner, CB, New York Jets
Like Stingley, Ahmad Gardner has all the traits to be a shutdown corner, even from day one. Sauce also has the swagger to match. It takes a different breed to go 1-on-1 with the game’s best receivers, but Gardner’s never backed down from a tough task. We’ll get to see him take on the likes of Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs twice each this season, we think he’ll do just fine.
6. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, Houston Texans
We should throw some caution out there, a cornerback hasn’t taken home Rookie of the Year honors since Marshon Lattimore did so in 2017. But Derek Stingley Jr. has that ability. As an otherworldly athlete, he has great feet, a nose for the football, and the hands to bring in the pigskin. Sometimes it’s tough for a rookie corner to make their mark, but Stingley can be that guy.
5. Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Everyone tried to tell us Kenny Pickett was pro-ready, but no one anticipated the preseason the former Pitt Panther would have. A game-winning throw on the same field he played on in college? That’s fairytale stuff right there. We know he’s a backup, but he’s also a quarterback, which means he could miss four weeks or so and still be a top ROTY contender. That’s what we’re banking on.
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4. Travon Walker, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars
The top overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft doesn’t guarantee Rookie of the Year contention, but Travon Walker hopes to buck that trend. Walker had no trouble getting his first sack in the preseason, proving he hasn’t lost it as he puts on an NFL uniform for the first time. The 21-year-old will be faced up against a suspect Washington Commanders offensive line in Week 1, so the opportunity for a strong start is there.
3. Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, New York Giants
Kayvon Thibodeaux‘s season may already be off to a less-than-desirable start after suffering an MCL sprain. The rookie out of Oregon’s status for the season opener is in question, but he could return just in time for their Sept. 11 battle with the Titans. Once he does hit the field, Thibodeaux has an explosive pass rush that could lead to impressive sack numbers as a rookie.
2. Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets
Receivers who land in the best spots always have a great chance to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Potentially not having Zach Wilson slinging him passes to begin the year could hold him back, but it could also be a gift. Joe Flacco has far more experience and still has a rocket arm. He’ll have no trouble finding Garrett Wilson downfield after he turns on the jets.
1. Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Detroit Lions
There’s a reason why Aidan Hutchinson was regarded as the potential top overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and it wasn’t due to his ability to get a locker room going with his singing performance of “Billie Jean“.
Hutchinson was living in the backfield during the preseason as he adjusts from college to the pros. His ability to quickly get past his blocker seems to have translated, going against Penei Sewell in camp has likely helped. As the focal point on the Lions’ defensive line, it won’t be surprising to see the Rookie of the Year candidate face double teams early on. We’ll see how he handles the challenge.
NFL Rookie of the Year odds
While the above rankings are purely subjective, NFL oddsmakers have been taking bets on who the 2022 NFL Rookie of the Year may be. Here are the latest ROTY odds according to Vegas Insider, updated before Week 1.
|Player||Rookie of the Year odds|
|Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers||+700|
|Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons||+800|
|Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints||+800|
|Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets||+900|
|Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans||+900|
|George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers||+1000|
|Skyy Moore, WR, Kansas City Chiefs||+1000|
|Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets||+1100|
|Christian Watson, WR, Green Bay Packers||+1400|
|James Cook, RB, Buffalo Bills||+1400|
|Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers||+1600|
|Jameson Williams, WR, Detroit Lions||+2000|
|Desmond Ridder, QB, Atlanta Falcons||+2000|
|Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans||+2000|
Revisiting the 2021 NFL Rookie of the Year
The quarterbacks from the 2021 NFL Draft class didn’t quite live up to their lofty expectations, but there were still several outstanding performances. Ja’Marr Chase picked up where he left off with Joe Burrow, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, helping the Cincinnati Bengals reach the Super Bowl for the first time in 33 years.
- Ja’Marr Chase stats in rookie year: 81 receptions, 1,455 receiving yards, 13 TD catches
On defense, Micah Parsons became an instant star from the very beginning. Playing in his first game of the year, Parsons burst onto the scene with seven tackles, a QB hit and a pass deflection, never looking back.
- Micah Parsons stats in rookie year: 84 tackles, 13 sacks, 3 FF, 20 TFL, 3 PD, 30 QB Hits
Who will emerge as the early ROTY candidates during the 2022-23 NFL season?
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.