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
- George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Jalen Pitre, S, Houston Texans
- Sauce Gardner, CB, New York Jets
- Derek Stingley Jr., CB, Houston Texans
- Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, New York Giants
2022-23 NFL Rookie of the Year candidates
10. Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 10)
- Kenny Pickett stats: 76.9% comp. rate, 56 passing yards, 3 INT, 15 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 in addition to an interception isn’t a bad start. He 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 1-3, the Steelers have no reason not to roll with the rookie.
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9. Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders (LW: 7)
- Jahan Dotson stats (2022): 12 catches, 152 receiving yards, 4 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’s kept up the effort with four scores through in as many games. He’s winning contested-catch opportunities, and is looking like a win for Washington. After tweaking his hamstring, Dotson could be looking at a one or two-week absence.
8. Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets (LW: 9)
- Breece Hall stats (2022): 178 rushing yards, 1 TD, 113 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 seemingly taken over the starting role. Through four games, the rookie has a better yards-per-carry average than Carter, but a fumble in his rookie debut may have given his coaches caution before handing him a bigger role. We’ll see just how long that leash is next week against a good Miami run defense.
Related: 2022 NFL offense rankings
7. Travon Walker, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 3)
- Travon Walker stats (2022): 13 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.
6. Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans (LW: Honorable mention)
- Dameon Pierce stats (2022): 313 rushing yards, 2 TDs, 43 receiving yards
What’s incredible about Dameon Pierce’s soaring Rookie of the Year odds? He’s the only player in this top ten 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 he’s 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 Jacksonville’s run defense will present a tougher challenge.
5. Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons (LW: 6)
- Drake London stats (2022): 18 catches, 231 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. If Kyle Pitts continues to draw the opponent’s top defender in coverage, London can keep climbing the ranks. Marcus Mariota has gotten Pitts more involved, but if London really does become the first option in Atlanta, winning Rookie of the Year is a strong possibility. While Pitts and Wilson may have similar stats, give us the New York passing offense as a unit with a higher ceiling and bigger chances at producing in 2022.
4. Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets (LW: 2)
- Garrett Wilson stats (2022): 20 catches, 255 receiving yards, 2 TDs
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.
3. Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Detroit Lions (LW: 1)
- Aidan Hutchinson stats (2022): 12 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 may not get many chances to sack quarterbacks facing a Patriots team that loves to establish the ground game, the first-year pro’s run defense will be tested instead.
Related: 2022 NFL defense rankings
2. Devin Lloyd, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 5)
- Devin Lloyd stats (2022): 38 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 kind of 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. Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints (LW: 3)
- Chris Olave stats (2022): 21 catches, 335 receiving yards, 1 TD
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 once the QB returns but . For now, the rookie is off to a great start considering Michael Thomas is the top dog in the Big Easy, yet Olave’s outproducing the two-time All-Pro.
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|
|Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons||+650|
|Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans||+650|
|Travon Walker, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars||+750|
|Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers||+800|
|Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers||+900|
|George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers||+900|
|Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, New York Giants||+1000|
|Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets||+1200|
|Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets||+1200|
|Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders||+1200|
|Jalen Pitre, S, Houston Texans||+1200|
|Malcolm Rodriguez (Rodrigo), LB, Detroit Lions||+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|
|Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans||+2000|
|Bailey Zappe, QB, New England Patriots||+2500|
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.