Way-Too-Early NFL Rookie of the Year Candidates 

The NFL Draft has concluded meaning we are one step closer to the season starting257 rookies were drafted and many undrafted guys will find teams within the next few days. From second-overall pick C.J. Stroud to Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy, it doesn’t matter when or where you’re drafted. Every rookie has the opportunity to make their mark and win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Here’s a look at the way-too-early rookie-of-the-year candidates. 

Early NFL Rookie of the Year Candidates

Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams is the obvious choice here he was the number one pick and had the keys to the Chicago Bears offense before he was selected in the draft. On paper, the Bears offense may be 1A and 1B with the Houston Texans. Their offense got a much-needed makeover with the additions of D’Andre Swift and Gerald Everett to add depth to the running back and tight end positions. D.J Moore is coming off his best season as a pro and now Keenan Allen is his running mate. They drafted Rome Odunze with their ninth pick who has superstar potential and could be a candidate himself. 

Williams could be destined for a huge rookie season, especially with the weapons around him. This past season we saw a rookie quarterback put the world on notice and lead his team to the playoffs. Could it happen in back-to-back seasons? The Bears are moving in the right direction and they could be a surprise team this year. Although the NFC North appears to be the Detroit Lions to lose, all games are played on the field not on paperWilliams has the best odds to win the award and if he takes his team to the playoffs he should be a lock to win it. 

Xavier Worthy

The worst case scenario happened for 31 NFL teams and that is Xavier Worthy’s 4.21 speed being paired with Patrick Mahomes. The Kansas City Chiefs moved on from Marquez Valdes-Scantling meaning he will have an instant impact. It may be a headache for NFL secondaries but Chiefs Kingdom will love what he brings to the team. His speed and deep-threat ability make him a perfect fit. They added more speed in free agency by signing Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to help take pressure off Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice.  

Mahomes’ bread and butter is having a consistent vertical threat to connect on deep balls with. They lost that when Tyreek Hill left in free agencyNot saying the expectations should be that high, but Worthy will get that opportunity to step into that role. The Chiefs desperately missed this past season and still managed to win a Super Bowl. According to Worthy’s draft profile, a major strength of his game is stretching the field for his teammates. Rice and Kelce are reliable in both the quick game and broken plays. With Worthy’s ability to take the top off of defense, he could have a huge season once he gains his quarterback’s trust. 

Brian Thomas Jr.

It’s not insane to think Brian Thomas Jr. has a better chance to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year than the other wide receivers selected ahead of him. His situation with the Jacksonville Jaguars improves his chances. They have their franchise quarterback, an offensive-minded head coach, and complimentary weaponsGabe Davis and Christian Kirk will most likely be Trevor Lawrence‘s top options and Evan Engram is coming off a career year which will leave more room for Thomas Jr to flourish under the radar. 

The Jaguars haven’t drafted the wide receiver position well but the good news is LSU wide receivers usually pan out well in the NFL. Thomas Jr. is a 6-foot-3 wide receiver with 4.3 speed who could quickly become a big target for Lawrence. His height and speed will help elevate the vertical game for the Jaguars and open the middle of the field for Kirk and Engram. He had 17 touchdowns his last season at LSU and can be a mismatch nightmare for defensive backs. Thomas Jr. could have a huge rookie season and help boost the Jaguars offense. 

Main Image: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

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Isaac Coleman

I was surprised when I saw Xavier Worthy and Brian Thomas Jr. over Marvin Harrison Jr. You make a solid case for his production value because of the talent on the team and the quarterback the Jaguars have. With Trevor Lawerence as his quarterback, Evan Ingram increased his production. Xavier Worthy and Brian Thomas Jr. are in ideal situations as rookie receivers because of the team they were drafted to. Marvin Harrison Jr. will be the focal point of the offense in Arizona. Similar to other receivers, Harrison Jr. also has a reliable tight end in Trey McBride that will take pressure away from the fourth overall pick in this. Harrison Jr is the prototype at wideout, his route running and speed were already at a pro level at Ohio State. He can win contested throws and he has homerun ability. Look for Harrison Jr. to. make a name for himself early in 2024.

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