The 2022-23 NFL Rookie of the Year candidates are all over the place at this stage of the year. We’ve only gotten a brief glimpse of these rooks as they transition to the pros. 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 with Week 2 upon us.
Honorable mentions for NFL Rookie of the Year
- Jordan Davis, DT, Philadelphia Eagles
- Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets
- Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, New York Giants
- Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans
- Skyy Moore, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
2022-23 NFL Rookie of the Year candidates
10. Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 10)
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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9. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, Houston Texans (LW: 6)
- Derek Stingley Jr. stats (2022): 15 tackles, 3 pass deflections
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. He saw 92 snaps against the Colts in Week 1 and allowed six catches on nine targets for 81 yards and was routinely targeted again in Week 2 with Russell Wilson putting a target on his back. The rookie out of LSU has had a rough go of it early on, but a Bears matchup this week offers a nice opportunity to get his technique corrected.
8. Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans (LW: 8)
- Treylon Burks stats (2022): 3 catches, 55 receiving yards
Reports were all over the place on Treylon Burks to begin his NFL career. First, he experienced 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. Burks managed to snag three passes for 55 yards in his rookie debut while playing just 24 snaps. His playing time should only continue to increase, but don’t expect a huge performance against Buffalo this week.
7. Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints (LW: Honorable mention)
- Chris Olave stats (2022): 8 catches, 121 receiving yards
As a receiver in a pass-heavy offense, former Ohio State Buckeye Chris Olave has a chance to climb the ROY ranks just as fast as he can run the 40-yard dash (4.39 seconds). With Jameis Winston always looking for the big play, Olave will certainly be on the receiving end of a few more big gains, it’s only a matter of time. For now, he’s off to a decent start considering Michael Thomas is the top dog in the Big Easy.
6. Sauce Gardner, CB, New York Jets (LW: 3)
- Ahmad Gardner stats (2022): 8 tackles, 2 pass deflections
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. Taking on Mark Andrews and the Ravens offense in Week 1, Gardner managed a touchdown-saving pass deflection and only allowed one catch for eight yards. He’s well beyond most rookies at this stage in their careers, but we’ll see how much Joe Burrow tests him in Week 3.
5. Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons (LW: 8)
- Drake London stats (2022): 13 catches, 160 receiving yards, 1 TD
It didn’t take long for Drake London to get involved in his official NFL debut. A mismatch waiting to happen, London hauled in five-of-seven targets on 54 snaps. If Kyle Pitts continues to draw the opponent’s top defender in coverage, London can keep climbing the ranks. That’s more of what we saw in Week 2, with London becoming Marcus Mariota‘s top target. If he really does become the first option in Atlanta, winning Rookie of the Year is a strong possibility.
4. Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders (LW: 4)
- Jahan Dotson stats (2022): 7 catches, 99 receiving yards, 3 TDs
As the 16th overall pick in the NFL Draft, Jahan Dotson enters the league with a lot of hype. While he may not be the top receiving threat in town (Terry McLaurin), Dotson’s route-running and ability to separate make him a strong complementary option as a 1B for Carson Wentz. In his NFL debut, Dotson managed to slip past the defense for two touchdown catches, and he had the best odds to win Rookie of the Year heading into Week 2. Dotson touched paydirt again against the Lions, but doing so vs the Eagles will be a tougher task with Darius Slay and James Bradberry lined up outside.
3. Travon Walker, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 1)
- Travon Walker stats (2022): 6 tackles (one for loss), 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 PD
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. The 21-year-old is already off to a strong start, tallying a sack and an incredibly athletic interception after reading a Carson Wentz screen pass in Week 1. If these freakish traits are already translating to production, the rest of the league should be on notice. There could be another dominant up-and-coming pass-rusher developing in Duval. We’ll see if he can add to his effort against the Chargers, who have been susceptible to allowing pressure.
2. Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets (LW: 2)
- Garrett Wilson stats (2022): 12 catches, 154 receiving yards, 2 TDs
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 passes to Garrett Wilson could hold him back, but it could also be a gift, as they threw 59 passes in Week 1. Joe Flacco has far more experience and still has a rocket arm. Once they get on the same page, Wilson has the speed to burn defenders deep downfield, which will lead to big numbers. We saw a glimpse of Wilson’s talent in Week 2, using his quick twitchiness and ability to shake defenders with ease. Wilson can run past Bengals defenders in Week 3 too.
1. Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Detroit Lions (LW: 5)
- Aidan Hutchinson stats (2022): 7 tackles (two for loss), 3 sacks
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 performance of “Billie Jean.”
Facing the Eagles in Week 1, Hutchinson didn’t get much of a chance to pin his ears back and chase after quarterbacks in his debut. That changed in Week 2, facing Carson Wentz and a weak offensive front vs Washington, when Hutchinson tallied three sacks in the first half of play. He’ll be able to do even more damage in Week 3 against a poor Minnesota offensive interior
Related: 2022 NFL defense rankings
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 2.
|Player||Rookie of the Year odds|
|Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders||+800|
|Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons||+900|
|George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers||+900|
|Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints||+1000|
|Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans||+1000|
|Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans||+1200|
|Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers||+1200|
|Skyy Moore, WR, Kansas City Chiefs||+1200|
|Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers||+1200|
|Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets||+1500|
|Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets||+1500|
|Isiah Pacheco, RB, Kansas City Chiefs||+1800|
|Christian Watson, WR, Green Bay Packers||+2000|
|Desmond Ridder, QB, Atlanta Falcons||+2500|
|Kyle Philips, WR, Tennessee Titans||+2800|
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.