Top 2022-23 NFL Rookie of the Year candidates: Travon Walker rises to the top of the crop

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.

Related: The Most Expensive Rookie Cards Ever – Includes NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL

Honorable mentions for NFL Rookie of the Year

  • Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints
  • Jordan Davis, DT, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets
  • Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans
  • Isiah Pacheco, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

2022-23 NFL Rookie of the Year candidates

10. Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 5)

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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. Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, New York Giants (LW: 3)

NFL: New York Giants Rookie Minicamp
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

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 Week 2 is in question after being forced to sit out the season opener. Once he does hit the field, Thibodeaux has an explosive pass rush that could lead to impressive sack numbers as a rookie.

Click here to see which rookies will play in the postseason in our 2023 NFL playoff predictions

8. Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons (LW: 10)

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
  • Drake London stats (2022): 5 catches, 74 receiving yards

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. After a solid performance in Week 1, let’s see how he handles himself against a championship-caliber Rams defense this Sunday.

Also Read: Everything you need to know about the NFL Sunday Ticket

7. Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans (LW: 8)

NFL: Tennesee Titans Training Camp
George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports
  • 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.

6. Derek Stingley Jr., CB, Houston Texans (LW: 6)

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
  • Derek Stingley Jr. stats (2022): 7 tackles, 1 pass deflection

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. He’ll have a tougher test against Russell Wilson in Week 2.

5. Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Detroit Lions (LW: 1)

NFL: Atlanta Falcons At Detroit Lions
Detroit Free Press-USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Aidan Hutchinson stats (2022): 1 tackle

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.”

Hutchinson didn’t get much of a chance to pin his ears back and chase after quarterbacks in Week 1. The Eagles are a run-heavy team that called a passing play just 33 times. Still, with 69 snaps played, there were a lot of chances to make plays, and all Hutchinson has to show for it is one measly tackle and three pressures. He should get a few more pass-rushing opportunities in Week 2 against Washington. In fact, this is the same team that Travon Walker faced in Week 1 when he tallied a sack and a pick.

Related: Aidan Hutchinson makes impact immediately in Detroit Lions debut

4. Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders (LW: Honorable mention)

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders
Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
  • Jahan Dotson stats (2022): 3 catches, 40 receiving yards, 2 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 now he’s tied for having the best odds to win Rookie of the Year. Dotson should get several more chances to reach paydirt vs Detroit this week.

3. Sauce Gardner, CB, New York Jets (LW: 7)

Syndication: The Record
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Ahmad Gardner stats (2022): 2 tackles, 1 pass deflection

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. He’ll cause problems for the Cleveland passing attack this week.

2. Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets (LW: 2)

NFL: New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
  • Garrett Wilson stats (2022): 4 catches, 52 receiving yards

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. Unfortunately, that may not happen in Week 2, with Cleveland’s pass rush likely to cause problems for Flacco’s long windup.

Related: New York Jets Garrett Wilson earning high praise around NFL and comparisons to Cowboys CeeDee Lamb

1. Travon Walker, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 4)

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
  • Travon Walker stats (2022): 4 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 fantastic start, tallying a sack and an incredibly athletic interception after reading a Carson Wentz screen pass. 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.

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 3.

Player Rookie of the Year odds
Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons +750
Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders +750
Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints +900
George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers +1000
Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans +1200
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers +1200
Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets +1200
Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans +1200
Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers +1200
Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets +1400
Skyy Moore, WR, Kansas City Chiefs +1600
Isaiah Spiller, RB, Los Angeles Chargers +1600
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
NFL ROTY odds provided by

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?

WATCH: Sportsnaut’s Carolyn Manno on the latest NFL rumors

This article was originally published on and is republished here with permission.

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