Now that the draft is over, let’s take a look at which rookies are in the best spots to win the rookie of the year awards. These lines are already starting to have big movements even though we are only in May so I have highlighted where the best number is still available for each prop.
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos: +3500 BetMGM
This has been a popular play since the props were released as he is now down to +2000 or less in most places but you can still get +3500 at BetMGM. The fact that the Broncos traded up for him early in the second round gives us a good idea they have a bigger plan for him than to just be in a timeshare with Melvin Gordon. Per Football Outsiders, Gordon ranked 28th in DVOA last year and 44th in success rate plus he is in the last year of his contract so Williams should not only be a long-term replacement but also an immediate one. In 2020, Williams had the highest rushing grade ever given out by PFF at 95.9 due in large part to his 0.48 broken tackles per attempt, which was also a record per PFF.
Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: +1500 FanDuel
If you are looking for a rookie running back who will get all the volume he can handle, look no further than Najee Harris. Unlike the other top rookie running backs, Harris has a clearly defined role on Day 1 and because of that surety, he has been bet down to +1000 or under at most places but still available at +1500 at FanDuel. His biggest competition for touches may come from Benny Snell who ranked 46th in DVOA and 43rd in success rate last year. While Harris certainly will get the carries, an underrated part of his game, and one that will help him amass even more touches, is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield with 43 catches and 9.9 yards per catch last year at Alabama. Harris is also expected to get work out wide for the Steelers during their rookie camp and offseason workouts. Rich Hribar has already done his fantasy outlook for Harris and projected him for 245 carries and 43 receptions.
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars: +300 DraftKings
NFL Specials at BetMGM: Trevor Lawrence to Win Offensive Rookie of the Year and Jacksonville Jaguars win AFC South +1600
The presumptive No. 1 overall pick since his freshman year at Clemson gets paired up with one of the most innovative collegiate offensive minds in Urban Meyer as they start their NFL careers together in Jacksonville. Lawrence, who is only one of two rookie quarterbacks who as of right now are guaranteed to be the Day 1 starter, takes over for Gardner Minshew who in nine games last year had 2,259 yards and 16 touchdowns, which would translate to 4,016 yards and 28 touchdowns for a full season.
It’s easy to project Lawrence putting up similar if not better numbers given the talent and scheme upgrade. In fact, Rich Hribar has him projected at 4,400 yards and 27 touchdowns to go along with 251 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Compare that to Justin Herbert’s stats last year when he won Offensive Rookie of the Year (4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns in 15 games) and you can see why Lawrence is the favorite to win the award.
However, there may be more value in the bet offered at MGM for him to win Rookie of the Year and Jacksonville to win the division at +1600. Using the strength of schedule based on projected win totals for teams in 2021, Jacksonville has the eight-easiest schedule in the league. If Lawrence can live up to or even surpass expectations, Jacksonville has a real shot at winning the division which they are currently at +700 on DraftKings to do.
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
Jamin Davis, LB, Washington Football Team: +1600 William Hill
Much like Javonte Williams, we are betting the number here which has moved to +900 in most spots but is still available at +1600 at William Hill. Davis saw his draft stock skyrocket after his pro day where he clocked a 4.37 40 time to go along with a 42-inch vertical and 11-foot broad jump. Afterward, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah compared him to 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year winner Darius Leonard, saying “He looks so much like Darius Leonard when you study him. Legitimate Rookie of the Year-Type ability.” Head coach Ron Rivera clearly saw the same potential and made him the 19th overall pick in the draft and second linebacker off the board. Davis, who will be an every-down linebacker, will be put in a great opportunity behind a stout defensive line that will take on blockers and allow Davis to run free and utilize his speed and range to rack up tackles.
Early 2022 NFL Mock Draft
Throughout the 2021 season, we’ll be highlighting the stock of prospective draft-eligible players. As a primer, here’s an early 2022 NFL Mock Draft to set a baseline for where these players could be projected to go. The draft order is determined by current Vegas win totals.
Pick No. 1 – Houston Texans (Over/Under 4.5 wins) – Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma
Pick No. 2 – Detroit Lions (Over/Under 5 wins) – Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
Pick No. 3 – New York Jets (Over/Under 6.5 wins) – Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon
Pick No. 4 – Cincinnati Bengals (Over/Under 6.5 wins) Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
Pick No. 5 – Philadelphia Eagles (Over/Under 6.5 wins) Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Pick No. 6 – Jacksonville Jaguars (Over/Under 6.5 wins) Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Pick No. 7 – New York Giants (Over/Under 7 wins) Drake Jackson, Edge, USC
Pick No. 8 – Chicago Bears (Over/Under 7 wins) Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio St.
Pick No. 9 – Atlanta Falcons (Over/Under 7 wins) DeMarvin Leal, DL, Texas A&M
Pick No. 10 – Carolina Panthers (Over/Under 7.5 wins) Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M
Pick No. 11 – Las Vegas Raiders (Over/Under 7.5 wins) Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Pick No. 12 – Denver Broncos (Over/Under 7.5 wins) Zion Nelson, OT, Miami
Pick No. 13 – Washington Football Team (Over/Under 8 wins) JT Daniels, QB, Georgia
Pick No. 14 – Arizona Cardinals (Over/Under 8 wins) Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Pick No. 15 – Minnesota Vikings (Over/Under 8.5 wins) Zach Harrison, Edge, Ohio St.
Pick No. 16 – Pittsburgh Steelers (Over/Under 8.5 wins) Desmond Ritter, QB, Cincinnati
Pick No. 17 – Los Angeles Chargers (Over/Under 9 wins) George Pickens, WR, Georgia
Pick No. 18 – New Orleans Saints (Over/Under 9 wins) Sevyn Banks, CB, Ohio St.
Pick No. 19 – Philadelphia Eagles – (via Miami over under 9 wins) Kedon Slovis, QB, USC
Pick No. 20 – New England Patriots – (Over/Under 9 wins) John Metchie, WR, Alabama
Pick No. 21 – Tennessee Titans – (Over/Under 9.5 wins) Chris Olave, WR, Ohio St.
Pick No. 22 – New York Jets – (Via Seattle Over/Under 9.5 wins) Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Pick No. 23 – Cleveland Browns – (Over/Under 9.5 wins) George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
Pick No. 24 – Dallas Cowboys – (Over/Under 9.5 wins) Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M
Pick No. 25 – Indianapolis Colts – (Over/Under 10 wins) Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi St.
Pick No. 26 – Green Bay Packers – (Over/Under 10.5 wins) Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
Pick No. 27 – Detroit Lions (Via L.A. Rams Over/Under 10.5 wins) Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Pick No. 28 – Miami Dolphins (Via San Francisco Over/Under 10.5 wins) Christian Harris, LB Alabama
Pick No. 29 – Buffalo Bills (Over/Under 10.5 wins) Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
Pick No. 30 – Baltimore Ravens (Over/Under 11 wins) Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn St.
Pick No. 31 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – (Over/Under 11.5 wins) Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
Pick No. 32 – Kansas City Chiefs – (Over/Under 12 wins) Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan