Early look at the rookie awards

As I mentioned in the other post about season long markets, they’re not really somewhere you should spend your money until part way through the season when you are able to see how things are playing out, but it’s still a little fun to have a vested interest in certain players through the year so I’ll usually put a few quid on a couple of guys at higher prices for interest.

Offensive rookie of the year

This is a tough one to call, especially with the mix and match off-season which looks likely. Since the year 2000 you’re looking at 8 QBs, 9 RBs and 3 WRs. So a varied bunch, probably because the top QBs generally go to the worst teams so it’s a tough task for them to make an immediate impact.


A look at the QBs first – Burrow (5/2) is the favourite and as a fan of the Bengals, he’s got the weapons to use, whether he’ll get time to throw the ball in a very tough division is the main downpoint for him. It’s a poor offensive line and he’s facing very good pass rushers every week. The Bengals will do well to get 7 wins, unless he breaks records I don’t think he’s winning it. Add to that the probable lack of time to work with his new team mates and he’s probably out for me. Tua (10/1) the next big QB to have been drafted – Probably won’t play all 16. Not a great team for him either, unlikely to have a winning record, however in a far easier division than Burrow finds himself. Herbert (20/1) landed in LA with the Chargers, I don’t think he starts the season, he’s in a better position than the two above him in the betting though on a team with weapons and a decent defense. Jalen Hurts is a long shot at 100/1 (mentioned above) – He likely won’t see the field, but if Wentz goes down (as he has done a fair bit in his career) then it could be Hurts coming into a team who reloaded their weapons over the summer.

Running backs

None were taking in the first round of the draft this year, and none landed in a spot where I’d expect them to have a full workload. Clyde Edward-Helaire (6/1) leads the running backs, landed with the best team with the best offense in the league (in my eyes) but I don’t see him being the main man in the backfield. Jonathon Taylor (12/1) gets to run behind a top offensive line in a team I think will win their division, but again face competition for touches with Marlon Mack the incumbent and Nyheim Hines likely to take a fair bit of 3rd down work. Cam Akers is an interesting one with the Rams, Darrell Henderson and Malcom Brown are both in the backfield but neither got the chance to impress much last year, so I think he’s probably got the best chance of the three mentioned to take control of a backfield. Zack Moss (66/1) takes the Frank Gore role in Buffalo but without a Devin Singletary injury he’ll likely be in for short yardage/goal line work. He might put up TDs though.

Wide receivers

This is where the talent was in the draft this year, 6 of them were taken in the first round. Ruggs (20/1), Juedy (16/1), Lamb (25/1), Raegor (33/1), Jefferson (33/1) and Aiyuk (50/1) so it seems sensible to start with them – Once again none of them really land in a spot where they’ll be the #1 in their team. Ruggs fits in with a myriad of options in Vegas, Juedy the likely 2 behind Sutton, Lamb probably the 3rd option in Dallas. Raegor could become the 1 in Phillie, Jefferson the 2 behind Thielen and Aiyuk mixed in with the others in SF.

If I was to put them in order of preference (which I guess I should seeing as I’m bothering to write this) – Raegor, Juedy, Jefferson, Lamb, Aiyuk, Ruggs – Raegor probably has the easier route to being the main WR in his team, he’ll likely be behind Ertz in targets though, Juedy is the shortest priced WR in the markets, should get a lot of the ball in the slot in Denver, Jefferson doesn’t face much competition in Minnesota but they’ll be a run first offense still. Lamb for me was the most talented coming out, lands in a team which will put up points, it’s just a matter of how many will come through him. The one receiver drafted who I think could go in an be the #1 in his team immediately though is Denzel Mims (66/1) unfortunately for him that team is the NY Jets who have a tough schedule in an easy division. Chase Claypool (60/1) the only one of the top 8 or so who I’ve not mentioned, unrefined but a physical freak faces a lot of competition for targets in Pittsburgh, although of course Pittsburgh are the only team in the league capable of improving young receivers so there is that.

Realistically this should be a no-bet but I’ll probably have a nibble on Hurts, Akers and Mims at the prices. 100/1, 25/1 and 66/1 respectively.

Defensive rookie of the year

This was an easy one to call last year with Nick Bosa the hype man coming into the season and proving very much that he was worthy of that praise finishing with the award despite missing a few games with injury.

This year Chase Young is all the hype joining a surprisingly impressive Redskins defense, so he won’t lack talent around him which should help him avoid too much attention from the opposition. Rated by most as the best player in the draft this year, he’s the rightful favourite, but it’s a tough price to be putting your cash on at a best price of 7/2.

Next in the betting are the top LBs from the draft this year, Isaiah Simmons, Patrick Queen and Kenneth Murray. Simmons went to the Cardinals and I’m not entirely sure they’ll be using him to his strengths, although he’s very versatile so he should do well whatever position they deploy him in. Queen somehow fell to the Ravens who must have run to the virtual podium to make this selection. He lands in a prime spot and should get a ton of snaps this year in a re-building linebacker corps. The Chargers moved up to take Kenneth Murray giving him a very good landing spot as well in a defense which is fairly stacked.

There’s two a little further down the odds-boards who I want to look at though, Javon Kinlaw (25/1) basically replacing Deforest Buckner in San Francisco and maybe a homer pick but with logic in Logan Wilson (100/1) who got taken by the Bengals. Kinlaw lands in a great spot, the 49ers were one of the best defenses last year and he’ll get a lot of pass rushing snaps. Logan Wilson not quite as good a spot, but the highest drafted of the 3 LBs the Bengals took in April. I believe he’ll play the majority of snaps this year and he was a very solid cover linebacker in college so should stay on the field for all downs.

So, basically they’re not sensible bets, but for some skin in the game and a little interest through the season there’s a few suggestions at higher prices.

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