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.
Honorable mentions for NFL Rookie of the Year
- Kenneth Walker III, RB, Seattle Seahawks
- George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Jalen Pitre, S, Houston Texans
- Jack Jones, CB, New England Patriots
- Sauce Gardner, CB, New York Jets
- Derek Stingley Jr., CB, Houston Texans
2022-23 NFL Rookie of the Year candidates
10. Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 10)
- Kenny Pickett stats: 67.7% comp. rate, 447 passing yards, 4 INT, 25 rushing yards, 2 rushing TD
Everyone tried to tell us Kenny Pickett was pro-ready, but no one anticipated the preseason the former Pitt Panther would have. Riding pine through the first three games, Pickett finally got the call in the second half of Week 4. He couldn’t quite lead the Steelers to a comeback win, but scoring two touchdowns on his first three drives despite an interception isn’t a bad start. Pickett may have some ground to make up, but he’s a quarterback, which means he can still be a top ROTY contender. That’s what we’re banking on. At 1-4, the Steelers have no reason not to roll with the rookie, and a 300-yard debut isn’t a bad way to begin.
Related: 2022 NFL QB Rankings
9. Travon Walker, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 7)
- Travon Walker stats (2022): 18 tackles (two for loss), 1 sack, 1 INT, 2 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 got 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. While it’s hard to follow such a strong debut, Walker has still made an impact, creating pressure and even showing off more of his coverage skills on the few occasions that he drops back. Facing the Texans in Week 5 should give Walker plenty of opportunities to flash his skills, as they have a mediocre offensive line and like to pass.
8. Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons (LW: 6)
- Drake London stats (2022): 22 catches, 266 receiving yards, 2 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. Yet, even with Kyle Pitts out of the picture in Week 5, London couldn’t take advantage of a superb Buccaneers defense. Unfortunately, we’ll likely see the same story against the 49ers in Week 6. The bigger issue holding London back is a bottom-five passing offense, limiting the former USC receiver’s chances of gaining much ground.
7. Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Detroit Lions (LW: 3)
- Aidan Hutchinson stats (2022): 14 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. But the 22-year-old rookie hasn’t done much since. Hutchinson will have to show up more often on game day to improve his Rookie of the Year odds.
Related: 2022 NFL defense rankings
6. Tariq Woolen, CB, Seattle Seahawks (LW: Unranked)
- Tariq Woolen stats (2022): 17 tackles, 1 FR, 3 INT, 4 PD, 1 TD
Don’t look now but Pete Carroll might have found the next lengthy player who can set the tone in his secondary. Rookie fifth-round cornerback Tariq Woolen stands 6-foot-4 and ran a 4.26 40-yard dash. He’s a freak, but he can actually play too, and the first-year pro’s already causing problems. Despite being off the map to begin with, Woolen’s a top Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.
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5. Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets (LW: 4)
- Garrett Wilson stats (2022): 20 catches, 282 receiving yards, 2 TD
Receivers who land in the best spots always have a great chance to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Who knows if not having Zach Wilson slinging passes to Garrett Wilson has been a hiccup or a gift, as the Jets threw 59 passes in Week 1. Joe Flacco has far more experience and still has a rocket arm. Once the rookie and his quarterback get on the same page, Wilson has the speed to burn defenders deep downfield, which will lead to big numbers. But he’s already proven explosive, with seven 15+ yard receptions through four weeks.
4. Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints (LW: 1)
- Chris Olave stats (2022): 25 catches, 389 receiving yards, 2 TD
As a receiver in a pass-heavy offense, former Ohio State Buckeyes receiver Chris Olave has a strong chance of maintaining his top spot. With Jameis Winston always looking for the big play, Olave will certainly be on the receiving end of a few more big gains once the QB returns. For now, the rookie is off to a great start considering Michael Thomas is typically the top dog in the Big Easy, yet Olave’s outproducing the two-time All-Pro as the vet battles more injury issues. Then again, now Olave’s in the same boat after suffering a concussion in his latest 54-yard, one-touchdown performance. We’ll see if the rookie can return next week against Cincinnati.
3. Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans (LW: 6)
- Dameon Pierce stats (2022): 412 rushing yards, 3 TD, 57 receiving yards
What’s incredible about Dameon Pierce’s soaring Rookie of the Year odds? He’s the only player in this top five to be selected after the second round. In fact, the fourth-round rookie had 106 players selected before him in April. But none of that matters because Pierce is in the captain’s chair of the Houston backfield, and his stock’s only set to continue soaring. Pierce leads all rookies in rushing yards, and it’s not even close, but the Raiders run defense will present a bigger challenge. Is he the real deal? You tell me.
2. Devin Lloyd, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 2)
- Devin Lloyd stats (2022): 49 tackles, 6 pass deflections, 2 interceptions
The Jaguars may have nailed both of their first-round picks, with Travon Walker off to a strong start and linebacker Devin Lloyd doing the same. Lloyd has been stout as a run defender, where Pro Football Focus gives the rookie an 80 grade after four weeks. Lloyd has proven to have a nose for the football, which is how he got his second interception. Who knows whether the first-year pro can keep up his pace, but for now, Lloyd’s a strong defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.
Related: 2022 NFL Power Rankings
1. Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets (LW: 8)
- Breece Hall stats (2022): 275 rushing yards, 2 TD, 213 receiving yards, 1 TD catch
He may have started in a timeshare with Michael Carter for touches in the New York backfield, and so far, this is a run-heavy offense, but Breece Hall has taken over the leading role. Hall’s proven to be every bit the dynamic rusher/receiver we saw at Iowa State and looks poised to post multiple seasons with 2,000 yards from scrimmage in his NFL future. After racking up 197 total yards to sink the Dolphins, Hall is our favorite to win NFL Rookie of the Year. We’ll see the Jets continue relying on the first-year pro against Green Bay in Week 6.
Related: 2022 NFL offense 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.
|Player||Rookie of the Year odds|
|Devin Lloyd, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars||+220|
|Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Detroit Lions||+450|
|Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints||+450|
|Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers||+550|
|Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons||+650|
|Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans||+700|
|Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers||+700|
|Travon Walker, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars||+750|
|George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers||+1000|
|Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, New York Giants||+1000|
|Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets||+1200|
|Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets||+1200|
|Jalen Pitre, S, Houston Texans||+1200|
|Malcolm Rodriguez (Rodrigo), LB, Detroit Lions||+1200|
|Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders||+1200|
|George Karlaftis, EDGE, Kansas City Chiefs||+1400|
|Jaquan Brisker, S, Chicago Bears||+1400|
|Quay Walker, LB, Green Bay Packers||+1400|
|Jordan Davis, DT, Philadelphia Eagles||+1600|
|Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, New York Jets||+1600|
|Ahmad Gardner, CB, New York Jets||+1800|
|Bailey Zappe, QB, New England Patriots||+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.