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 4 around the corner.
Honorable mentions for NFL Rookie of the Year
- Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets
- Jalen Pitre, S, Houston Texans
- Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans
- Jordan Davis, DT, Philadelphia Eagles
- Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, New York Giants
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. Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans (LW: 8)
- Treylon Burks stats (2022): 8 catches, 115 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 like his chances to win Rookie of the Year for a few reasons. At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Burks’ size and speed combination are unique. Perhaps even more unique is the fact that Burks can win vertically or after the catch with his ability to break tackles and gain additional chunks of yardage. The rookie’s playing time should only continue to increase, but only if the Titans’ offense can become more efficient.
8. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, Houston Texans (LW: 9)
- Derek Stingley Jr. stats (2022): 18 tackles, 3 pass deflections. 1 sack
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 completing six-of-ten passes on Stingley for 87 yards. The rookie out of LSU has had a rough go of it early on, and he’ll be challenged with Justin Herbert on the schedule next.
7. Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders (LW: 4)
- Jahan Dotson stats (2022): 9 catches, 109 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.
6. Travon Walker, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 3)
- Travon Walker stats (2022): 8 tackles (one 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 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.
5. Sauce Gardner, CB, New York Jets (LW: 6)
- Ahmad Gardner stats (2022): 12 tackles (one for loss), 4 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, and didn’t have trouble against Ja’Marr Chase in Week 3 either.
4. Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons (LW: 6)
- Drake London stats (2022): 16 catches, 214 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.
3. Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints (LW: 7)
- Chris Olave stats (2022): 17 catches, 268 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 great start considering Michael Thomas is the top dog in the Big Easy, yet Olave’s outproducing the two-time All-Pro.
2. Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets (LW: 2)
- Garrett Wilson stats (2022): 18 catches, 214 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 six 15+ yard receptions through three weeks. We’ll see who’s under center at QB this week against Pittsburgh.
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 one-on-one with ninth overall pick Charles Cross in Week 4, we’ll see how the rookies do.
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 after Thursday in Week 3.
|Player||Rookie of the Year odds|
|Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons||+500|
|Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders||+800|
|Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets||+800|
|Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers||+900|
|Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints||+1000|
|Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans||+1100|
|Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans||+1200|
|Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets||+1200|
|George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers||+1200|
|Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers||+1600|
|Malik Willis, QB, Tennessee Titans||+2000|
|Skyy Moore, WR, Kansas City Chiefs||+2500|
|David Bell, WR, Cleveland Browns||+2500|
|James Cook, RB, Buffalo Bills||+2500|
|Kenneth Walker III, RB, Seattle Seahawks||+3000|
|Desmond Ridder, QB, Atlanta Falcons||+3000|
|Kyle Philips, WR, Tennessee Titans||+3300|
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.