2024-2025 Offensive Rookie of the Year Watchlist

With a new season of NFL football on the horizon, the draft class of 2024 will be looking to start off their careers on the right foot. Last season has proven yet again that strong debuts can come from anywhere, and we do mean “anywhere”. Not every first round draft will burst onto the scene like C.J. Stroud or Will Anderson Jr. did for Houston. But at the same time, not every late round pick automatically fades into obscurity. Look at Brock Purdy’s 2022 rookie season and last season’s arrival of Puka Nacua.

There is no shortage of talent to behold, but opportunities to seize are in finite supply. Here are a few of the “new kids” that could make a strong to become the next “Offensive Rookie of the Year.”

2024-2025 Offensive Rookie of the Year Watchlist

Caleb Williams or Rome Odunze, Chicago Bears

In the Windy City, a lot will depend on which direction the new offensive staff will want to take this Bears offense. Obviously, the front office stood on business in drafting Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze at No.1 and No.9 respectively. But it will be crucial as to how the staff connects with their new signal caller in Williams. For Odunze, his playmaking abilities have been solidified in tough games. But he might find himself as a weapon on special teams as well.

In the meantime, both Williams and Odunze will have to learn the tricks of the trade to get not only themselves to the top of their game, but also the Bears back into playoff contention.

Brian Thomas Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

2023 was a season that most Jaguars fans would to forget: starting 8-3 only to lose five of their final six games and miss the playoffs. In addition, Calvin Ridley has left Duvall County to join division rival, Tennessee, for the upcoming campaign. That being said, Jacksonville has done well to replenish the ranks, bringing in Gabe Davis, Denzel Mims, and drafting the freakishly athletic, Brian Thomas Jr. Thomas will have lots of opportunities to learn from the veteran wideouts and sharpen his skillset.

If all goes to plan, he could very well pan out as a go-to for Trevor Lawrence on big plays in the future.

Bo Nix, Denver Broncos

One can safely assume that Bo Nix will be seeing time under the bright lines sooner than even Nix believes. With Jarrett Stidham and Zach Wilson in the same quarterback room, now is the time for Bo to strike while the iron is hot. Nix will be under the tutelage of one Sean Payton, the man who guided Drew Brees to certain Hall of Famer status. Though Payton could not get much done with Russell Wilson, he will have a fresh start alongside the former Oregon Duck. With veteran Broncos weapons like Courtland Sutton, Philip Dorsett, and Marvin Mims, Nix should have at least most of the tools necessary to succeed.

It also helps that the Broncos drafted Nix’s teammate from University of Oregon, Troy Frankin.

Xavier Legette or Jonathon Brooks, Carolina Panthers

It’s impossible to discuss the Carolina Panthers in 2023 without expressing pity or embarrassment. Bryce Young got thrown into the meat grinder with basically no weapons, and the team boasted the worst regular season record. Luckily, reinforcements have started to arrive, with wide receiver Xavier Legette and running back Johnathon Brooks picked up from the latest draft.

Neither Legette nor Brooks may have the most favorable sample sizes. But both can potentially spark the match to ignite this stagnant Carolina offense, or least take the load off Bryce Young.

Main Image: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

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