Every season the NFL hands out two Rookie of the Year award. One is given to the best offensive rookie in that given season while another is handed out to the top defensive rookie of the year.
The winners of these awards are selected by a panel of 50 members of the Associated Press who cover the NFL. Ballots are cast after the end of the regular season and before the playoffs. The winners are announced at the NFL Honors which is held on the night before the Super Bowl.
When we talk about the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award, only Kyler Murray last year and Cam Newton in 2011 are the #1 overall picks to win the award in the last nine years. Murray and Dak Prescott in 2016 are the only quarterbacks to win the award in the last seven years. Dan Marino is the only quarterback to win the award while starting less than 12 games during his rookie season.
The Minnesota Vikings lead all teams with five OROY winners. On the other hand, nine teams have never had an OROY winner and these teams are: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle Seahawks.
A total of 10 quarterbacks and nine wide receivers have been recipients of the OROY award. However, 34 running backs have been named as the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, including two out of the last three years and four out of the last seven seasons. No tight end has ever won the award.
38 out of the 53 winners of the OROY award were drafted in the first round and 46 out of the 53 winners were either first or second-round picks. Alvin Kamara in 2017 and Prescott are the latest winners to have been drafted after the second round.
24 out of the 34 runningback winners were drafted in the first round while 8 out of the 10 quarterback winners were also first-round selections. Six out of the nine wide receiver winners were also picked in round one.
Who Are the Favorites?
At +225, quarterback Joe Burrow of the LSU Tigers is the clear betting favorite to win the 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The 23-year old Heisman Trophy Winner is coming off a season where he led the Tigers to the NCAA championship while throwing a total of 60 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He is expected to be drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals where he will replace Andy Dalton and become an immediate upgrade in the position.
Tua Tagovailoa was the quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide. The 22-year old was the 2018 Heisman Trophy runner-up and a 2018 National champion. He threw a total of 33 touchdowns and a total of 2,840 yards while playing only nine games during the 2019 NCAA season. He underwent surgery after dislocating his hip and fracturing his posterior wall after getting sacked in a game against Mississippi State.
D’Andre Swift is the highest running back in the current odds board at +750. The former Georgia Bulldog was an All-SEC first-team selection in 2019 and won the 2018 National Championship with the Bulldogs. Swift rushed for a career-high 1,216 yards last season and recorded seven rushing touchdowns.
Jerry Jeudy was a wide receiver for Alabama and played with Tua Tagovailoa in the Crimson Tide’s 2018 CFP title team. The 22-year old Jeudy was the 2020 Citrus Bowl MVP and 2018 Biletnikoff award winner as the nation’s top wide receiver. He finished 2019 with 77 catches for a total of 1,163 receiving yards with 10 touchdown passes caught.
Here are the complete odds to win the 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. These odds were taken from SportsBetting as of 04/06/2020:
|Henry Ruggs III||+1800|
The Bengals finished the 2019 season with the second-worst record in the league at 2-14 and were 29th in scoring. With numbers like that, this team has nowhere to go but up. And with Burrow starting in the most important position on the football field, he is likely to get much of the credit and hence he is a no-brainer to be the betting favorite here.
Despite that, there are factors you might want to consider before jumping on the gun and betting on Burrow here. First is that we don’t know yet how the 2020 NFL Draft will unfold and there are possible scenarios that could affect Burrow’s chances.
There is a possibility that JK Dobbins, Jonathan Taylor or any of the top running backs will go to a winning team where they become a starter. We don’t know how healthy Tua Tagovailoa would be and how the team that picks him uses him next season.
And then, of course, there is history. As we noted above, only eight quarterbacks have won this award since 2000. Although Kyler Murray did it last year, that’s only a total of 40% of the winners during this millennium.
Some are worried about Burrow too because his body of work in 2019 could be a one-hit-wonder. Remember that he threw for only 18 touchdowns in 2018 and has started only 28 games in college football.
It’s too early to tell really. I would suggest making you pick after the draft because by then, we will have an idea of how the rookies could fit with their respective teams. However, if you point a gun to my head and insist that I pick now, I would have to go with Joe Burrow.
Sure, there are reasons why you would have second thoughts on him. But whether his 2019 season was just a flash in the pan, the point is he was able to accomplish it and that is undeniable. Given that Tagovailoa’s health is uncertain and we don’t know where the rest of the rookies will go, it’s fair to say that as of right now, we know that Burrow is the one who will most definitely have a standout rookie season.
Prediction: Joe Burrow