The 2021 NFL season is just a quarter of the way through its term, but several offensive rookies have already made their impact felt across the league. With rookie quarterbacks such as Justin Fields and Trey Lance beginning to earn more first-team reps in their respective situations, the overall class of offensive rookies may begin to look even better than it currently does.
With that said, the NFL futures prop betting landscape for the “2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year” is officially starting to take shape. BetOnline recently updated their odds, and the top 10 shakes out as follows:
- Mac Jones (+350)
- Ja’Marr Chase (+425)
- Trevor Lawrence (+600)
- Trey Lance (+600)
- Justin Fields (+700)
- Najee Harris (+900)
- Zach Wilson (+1800)
- DeVonta Smith (+1800)
- Trey Sermon (+1800)
- Javonte Williams/Rondale Moore (+2500)
While it’s no surprise to see all five of the first-round quarterbacks represented throughout these odds, these three rookie playmakers especially caught our eye through the month of September.
THE FAVORITE: MAC JONES
It’s easy to understand why Jones is considered the current favorite by oddsmakers. Quarterbacks almost always take home this honor, and Jones landed in the most favorable position when compared with his rookie signal-caller counterparts. Jones was named the starter for Week 1, unlike Lance and Fields, and the Patriots surrounded him with a more complete team than Lawrence and Wilson are playing alongside in Jacksonville or New York.
With that said, the Patriots have failed to capitalize on their offseason spending spree thus far and currently own a disappointing 1-3 record. If Jones wants to take home this award at the end of the year, New England must turn their season around before it's too late. If Bill Belichick’s men can ultimately achieve that and compete for a playoff spot in the AFC, Jones will have a great opportunity to capture this honor.
MY PICK: JA’MARR CHASE
As mentioned earlier, it’s rare that a non-quarterback takes home this honor but I feel great about Chase’s chances of doing so—he’s been that good. The former LSU standout terrorized the league through the month of September and was swiftly named the Offensive Rookie of the Month.
Chase has quickly debunked the silly, premature, and unnecessary concerns that surrounded his preseason struggles by playing at a downright dominant level. It’s early, but Chase has thus far rewarded the Bengals for selecting him over an offensive lineman, which many expected to be the case.
Chase’s four touchdown catches have him tied for second place in a logjam that trails just D.K. Metcalf and Cooper Kupp (who have both already played this week) by a single score. It's worth noting that the Bengals are off to a red-hot 3-1 start and are competing for a playoff spot in a difficult AFC North division. Chase has been a big reason why Cincinnati has fielded a playoff-worthy team through four weeks.
DARK HORSE: NAJEE HARRIS
Opportunity is often king when it comes to these awards, and that makes Harris a worthwhile candidate. Harris has quickly established himself as an every-down player in Pittsburgh’s struggling offense, having played more than 1,000 snaps through the first four games of the season.
Harris currently ranks just outside the top 10 in rushing attempts (55), but it’s his usage in the passing game that makes him worth paying attention to. With Pittsburgh’s offense failing to push the ball down the field at a consistent level, Ben Roethlisberger has often turned to Harris as a safety valve. Harris leads ALL running backs (not just rookies) with an astounding 34 targets in the passing game, including a ridiculous 19-target game in Week 3. Harris has parlayed those opportunities into 26 receptions for 178 receiving yards and a touchdown. In fact, Harris leads all rookies in yards from scrimmage (363) through the first quarter of the new campaign.
With this type of volume expected to continue, it would be a grave error to write off Harris’ chances of capturing the ultimate rookie honor.
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