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In a little over 3 weeks, the greatest sport and the best sport to gamble on returns. People have started to break down who will be on their fantasy team, and fans have convinced themselves that this will be their year, even though their team missed the playoffs last year. This is the time when fans are the most hopeful, training camp has just begun, there’s an excitement in the air, and your heart isn’t broken because you haven’t yet realized that your team sucks.
Today we are looking at the future of the league. These players could be the face of the NFL, and for them, it’s their first season in the pros. There are two different bets for rookies, one for offensive rookie of the year and another for defensive rookie of the year. Trevor Lawrence is the favorite on the offensive side of the ball, and the top five favorites are all quarterbacks. There were eight quarterbacks selected in the first three rounds, which were the most in league history. In the last six years, the offensive rookie of the year has been awarded to three quarterbacks and three running backs. The winner for the majority has been drafted in the top 10. In the last six years, the winners were drafted with the 6th, 1st, 2nd, 67th, 135th, and 10th draft picks. For most of the winners, their team in the first year wasn’t great as their teams have gone 7-9, 5-10, 5-11, 11-5, 13-3, and 7-9 in the last six years. The two outliers were Alvin Kamara on the Saints when they went 11-5 and Dak Prescott on the Cowboys, who went 13-3. Will the winner be on a sub 500 team or a playoff team?
Tanking for Trevor worked perfectly for the Jaguars since finishing with the worst record and being awarded the first overall pick. Since 2019 Trevor Lawrence was the consensus first pick, and during his time in Clemson, he was great. In his three years in Clemson, he finished with 10,088 yards, 90 touchdowns, one National Championship, two appearances, a 164.5 average quarterback rate, and a 66.7 average completion percentage. I know that Gardner Minshew believes there is a quarterback competition, but everybody knows that Lawrence will be the starter. In training, camp reports are coming out that that everyday Lawrence is improving. In the Jaguars’ first scrimmage, Lawrence led a 99-yard touchdown drive, finished with two touchdowns while missing two of Jacksonville’s top wide receivers. It’s a very chalk pick to take the favorite, but last year Joe Burrow was on his way to win before he got hurt, and Kyler Murray was the first overall pick in 2019 and won.
Going into the draft, there were arguments for Lawrence and Fields for the first overall pick. If Fields didn’t go number one, surely, he would be the second overall pick. With his ribs injury that happened vs. Clemson, there were concerns over his health, and then it was reported that Fields has epilepsy. With all of that, he fell in the draft. The Bears traded up and selected him with the 11th overall pick. Matt Nagy is still reporting that Andy Dalton will be the starter, but after the strong performance in training camp, I don’t know how long Nagy can keep lying. In training, camp Fields has shown off his speed burning past the Bears defenders. While Fields was at Ohio State, he had 218 rushing attempts, 867 yards, and 15 rushing touchdowns. Fields didn’t only light up the field with his legs but also his arm. He finished with 5373 yards, 63 touchdowns, a 178.5 average quarterback rate, and a 68.7 average completion percentage. It’s been done before where the offensive rookie of the year won the award after not starting in week one. Last year Justin Herbert didn’t start until week two and won the award. With a +550 bet, this is my pick for offensive rookie of the year.
The Jets decided that Sam Darnold wasn’t the future quarterback since drafting Zach Wilson with the second overall pick. The BYU quarterback finished his career with 7652 yards, 56 touchdowns, a 161.4 average quarterback rating, and a 67.2 average completion percentage. All reports coming out of New York’s training camp are that the rookie quarterback has greatly struggled. The Jets, last scrimmage Wilson had 2 interceptions and failed to get the offense into the red zone. Who knew that a Jets quarterback would be struggling? If any of these reports are true for the future, maybe throwing a little something on Sam Darnold at +1700 on winning the Comeback Player of the year. It seems as if the Jets could have prime Peyton Manning under center, and their offense would still struggle. I would stay far away from this bet. I don’t have any faith in Wilson or the Jets in general.
We have another player who isn’t slated to be the starter in week one. All reports are that Jimmy G will be the starter, but the reports from training camp don’t back up what Coach Shanahan is saying. All the reports are saying that Lance is outplaying Jimmy G in practices and scrimmages. It was surprising that Lance was selected with the 3rd overall pick since he only played one game in 2019 for North Dakota State. It wasn’t injury problems that cut his season short, but North Dakota State canceled their season after the Missouri Valley Conference announced that they would push their season back to the spring. They did end up playing one game which was more like a scrimmage than a real game against Central Arkansas. In 2019 Lance played 16 games, throwing for 2786 yards, 28 touchdowns, a 180.6 quarterback rating, and a 66.9 completion percentage. The 49ers will be a great team this year, and if it’s Lance leading them, his team success might make him win Offensive Rookie of the year.
The Alabama quarterback was thought to be a top 10 pick but fell in the draft to the 15th overall pick to the Patriots. Like Lance and Fields, Jones isn’t the projected starter in week one. But just like the other two rookies, Jones is looking great in training camp. During a two-minute drill, Jones went 4/4 and finished the drill throwing a touchdown. On the other Cam went 2/4 and failed to complete a touchdown. Last year Jones had 4500 yards, 41 touchdowns, a 203.1 quarterback rating, and 77.4 completion percentage. He then finished off the year by winning the National Championship. Jones seems to fit perfectly in Bill Belichick, and regardless of how he does this year, I could see him having great success in New England. If you have no faith in Cam Newton, believe that Belichick will be a quarterback whisper and that it was dumb of the rest of the league to let Jones drop. It might be worth it at +1000 to throw a little something on.
I had to include one running back into this article. I know that the five favorites are quarterbacks, but running backs also win this award. As I’ve written before, three quarterbacks and three running backs have won this award in the last six years. Harris was selected 24th overall by the Steelers. The Alabama running back has already lit up training camp. A video was released of Harris blowing by the Steelers defense and running through the secondary. It took half of the defense to take down Harris. In his last two years in Alabama, he had 2710 rushing yards, 39 rushing touchdowns, and 5.9 average yards per carry. He had 729 receiving yards, 11 receiving touchdowns, and 10.6 yards per catch. If you believe that a running back will win the award, Harris will be the best. The Steelers’ offense was in great need of a running game. Last year Pittsburgh finished with the 32nd rushing yards and 27th rushing touchdowns.