NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year Early Odds
The NFL Draft has concluded, and a record for the common draft era (since 1967) of 12 quarterbacks were selected in the first five rounds.
We had the first Alabama Crimson Tide player selected No. 1 overall, and five members of the 2021 Georgia Bulldog national championship defense are now Philadelphia Eagles. Four wide receivers were taken consecutively in the first round for the first time in the common draft era.
And now that the NFL’s rookie class of 2023 knows where they will be playing in the coming season, the bookmakers have given us their favorites to win rookie postseason hardware.
All odds provided by BetOnline.ag.
Offensive Rookie of the Year Favorites
Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons (+300)
At No. 8, Bijan Robinson of Texas is the highest running back selected since Saquon Barkley was taken No. 2 overall by the New York Giants in 2018. Barkley won the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award that season, and Robinson, the newest member of the Atlanta Falcon backfield, is the early favorite to win the award at the end of 2023.
Atlanta loves to run the football, and they are excellent at it. Last season, the Falcons led the NFL in rush attempts per game, were second in yards rushing per game, and third in rushing first downs. The running back room in Atlanta already has Tyler Allgeier, who set a rookie record for the Falcons last year for rushing yards in a season. But Robinson is now at the top of the depth chart.
Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers (+450)
The first overall pick of the Carolina Panthers is just behind Robinson on the odds board, and he is the unquestioned starter from the first day he steps on the field in a Panthers uniform.
Bryce Young was the Heisman Trophy winner in 2021. The last Heisman-winning quarterback to win the Rookie of the Year was Arizona’s Kyler Murray in 2019. Like Murray, Young is an explosive playmaker when the play breaks down, and like Murray in 2019, he doesn’t have anyone threatening to take away his snaps.
Also like Murray, who had Kliff Kingsbury as his head coach, Young has a great head coach with offensive experience in Frank Reich, an ex-quarterback.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seattle Seahawks (+800)
The last two Offensive Rookie of the Year winners have been wide receivers – Ja’Marr Chase of the Bengals in 2021, and Garrett Wilson of the Jets in 2022. And now Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a teammate of Wilson’s at Ohio State, is the wide receiver with the highest expectations for 2023.
Unlike Wilson, who went to a struggling offense with the Jets, Smith-Njigba is in a great situation in Seattle. His quarterback is Geno Smith, who just won Comeback Player of the Year, and he slots in perfectly between wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
Defensive Rookie of the Year Favorites
Will Anderson Jr., Houston Texans (+300)
The Houston Texans spent a lot of draft capital to move from the 12th pick to the third pick to take Will Anderson, the All-American EDGE from Alabama. But the two-time Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner (best defensive player in college football) and two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year is expected to be worth it. Anderson had 34.5 sacks in 41 career games at Alabama.
Anderson, the first defensive player drafted in 2023, is the favorite to be the best rookie defensive player this year. Last year’s winner was New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner. But the four winners before that — Micah Parsons, Chase Young, Nick Bosa, and Shaquille Leonard — all were pass rushers.
Jalen Carter, Philadelphia Eagles (+400)
A unanimous All-American last season at Georgia, Jalen Carter is now a Philadelphia Eagle, joining fellow defensive tackle and college teammate Jordan Davis, who was an Eagles first-round draftee in 2022.
Carter isn’t going to put up gaudy sack numbers from the interior of the defensive line. But if the Eagles defense doesn’t miss a beat from last year’s Super Bowl team, and Carter plays significant snaps this season, he will be near the top of the Rookie of the Year conversation.
Tyree Wilson, Las Vegas Raiders (+750)
Heading into last weekend’s draft, there were a number of pundits who had Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson going as high as No. 2. He ended up in Las Vegas with the seventh overall pick, where he will play alongside two other great pass rushers in Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones.
There were some pre-draft concerns about the foot injury that ended Wilson’s final season of college football. He also missed the scouting combine and the Texas Tech Pro Day. However, if he is healthy when the 2023 season kicks off, the Raiders have a rising star.