The 2022 NFL Draft has reached its completion and our TDN team has swiftly shifted our focus to analyzing how each prospect fits with their new destination—and if they can win OROY. Although the first five overall selections in the draft surprisingly occurred on the defensive side of the ball, several high-level offensive playmakers heard their names called during the first round.
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected a new franchise quarterback in Kenny Pickett. Quarterbacks have historically captured this award, but that reputation was broken last year when Cincinnati Bengals standout rookie Ja’Marr Chase rightfully won. Looking ahead, several dynamic, game-changing receivers were drafted in the first round of the 2022 draft that are fully capable of making it two in a row. That list includes Drake London, Jameson Williams, Treylon Burks, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, to name a few. We’re eagerly anticipating the opportunity to witness how these rookie studs acclimate to their new environment.
With that said, the NFL futures prop betting landscape for the 2022 NFL OROY is officially starting to take shape. BetOnline doesn’t waste any time, and they’ve already updated the exciting odds. The top 10 shakes out as follows:
- Chris Olave (+700)
- Kenny Pickett (+750)
- Breece Hall (+800)
- Treylon Burks (+800)
- Drake London (+850)
- Garrett Wilson (+900)
- James Cook (+900)
- Kenneth Walker III (+1100)
- Christian Watson (+1200)
- Jameson Williams/Skyy Moore (+1400)
The landscape is certainly intriguing. The BetOnline oddsmakers certainly expect several rookie wide receivers to make an immediate impact, and we’re inclined to agree with that sentiment. Pickett understandably appears quite high on this list given that he plays quarterback, but betting on the rookie signal-caller carries a sizable risk due to the presence of Mason Rudolph and Mitchell Trubisky. We’ve compiled our thoughts below.
THE FAVORITE & MY PICK: CHRIS OLAVE, WR, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis signaled his aggressive intentions by trading up to No. 11 overall from No. 16 in order to secure the services of Olave. New Orleans fielded one of the worst groups of pass-catchers at the receiver position last season and Loomis has ensured they will take a significant step forward in 2022.
Olave is a high-level and technically advanced route-runner that will make an immediate impact in New Orleans. Olave’s deep-speed and ball-tracking abilities should allow him to make several highlight-worthy plays throughout his rookie campaign.
The Saints re-signed quarterback Jameis Winston earlier this offseason, and their focus immediately shifted to surrounding Winston with more playmakers than he had at his disposal a year ago. The Saints didn’t make any significant moves at the receiver position this offseason outside of drafting Olave, which serves as a strong indication regarding just how much they’re relying on Olave and the returning Michael Thomas to improve a passing game that struggled with or without Winston under center last season.
Thomas has struggled to overcome recurring ankle issues in recent seasons, so it’s difficult to know how much he’ll contribute. Olave has landed in an ideal spot to make an immediate impact. He should soak up targets in bunches.
DON’T SLEEP ON: TREYLON BURKS, WR, TENNESSEE TITANS
The Titans sent shockwaves around the league by executing a shocking draft-day trade that sent superstar wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the No. 16 overall selection and a third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Titans General Manager Jon Robinson swiftly drafted Brown’s replacement at 16th overall by selecting Treylon Burks. Opportunity is more than half the battle when it comes to capturing OROY honors and Burks has undeniably landed in one of the best situations out of any rookie pass-catcher.
Despite featuring in a run-first offense, Brown soaked up a healthy team-leading 105 targets in 2021—and he missed four regular-season contests and made an early exit from others. Brown’s target share per contest works out to roughly 136 targets throughout a 17-game sample size. That’s a lot of targets that just became available in Tennessee’s passing offense and it wouldn’t qualify as a shock if Burks capitalized by leading the team in targets in 2022.
Furthermore, Julio Jones, Chester Rogers, and Anthony Firkser are no longer in the mix, and although they’ve been replaced with Austin Hooper and Robert Woods, it’s worth noting Woods is recovering from a season-ending ACL injury. Starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Tennessee’s offense are counting on Burks to do some heavy lifting in the passing game.
A WORTHY UNDERDOG: CHRISTIAN WATSON, WR, GREEN BAY PACKERS
Former North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson appears way down the list at +1200 and it may be worth pouncing on his chances while those favorable odds remain available. It’s rather straightforward to understand why Watson isn’t considered a favorite at this juncture. Watson attended a rather small program and wasn’t selected in the first round. Several of his receiving counterparts make for far more exciting options, but few possess the eye-popping opportunity Watson may encounter in Green Bay.
Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst was largely expected to draft a receiver in the first round, but he passed on that opportunity by doubling down on the defensive side of the ball with Georgia’s Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt. Gutekunst remained patient and landed his preferred target in Watson at the top of the second round.
Watson now joins an underwhelming receiver room that waved goodbye to Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling earlier this offseason. Arguably the best receiver in all of football, Adams’ departure frees up an astounding 169 targets from last season. Furthermore, Valdes-Scantling’s underrated departure frees up an additional 55 targets. That works out to a staggering average of 13 targets per contest.
Allen Lazard remains in the mix, but the Packers have done precious little to upgrade their pass-catching options this offseason considering what they lost. Veteran signing Sammy Watkins has struggled to remain healthy in recent seasons while Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure are late-round dart throws. Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers remains one of the best quarterbacks in football and somebody has to be on the receiving end of his high-level targets. Watson’s vertical ball-tracking skills and run-after-catch ability makes him an excellent fit in Green Bay’s offense. Watson routinely made big plays at North Dakota State, and he should receive a ton of opportunities to do more of the same in Green Bay.