The first overall pick is the first favorite to win the rookie of the year award. But the 24th pick could be the one to watch.
Via PointsBet, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence has +250 odds to win the prize the night before Super Bowl LVI. That part was predictable. After that, it gets interesting.
Next comes 49ers quarterback Trey Lance at +650, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones at +1000, Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts at +1000, Bengals receiver Ja'Marr Chase at +1200, Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle at +1500, Steelers running back Najee Harris at +1600, Eagles receiver Devonta Smith at +1600, Jaguars running back Travis Etienne at +1600.
MVP largely has become a quarterback award; rookie of the year has featured other positions. In the last eight years, only three quarterbacks have won the award. No receivers have won MVP; nine receivers have been named offensive rookie of the year since the award debuted in 1967.
(No tight end has won it. Pitts could be the first. It would help his cause if the Falcons trade Julio Jones, since there’s still only one football — and the Falcons have Jones, Pitts, and Calvin Ridley.)
For this award, stats become one of the biggest factors. Running backs who play all the time end up generating plenty of stats. That’s why Harris intrigues me the most, especially at 16-1 odds. The Steelers surely will use him. And with a prolific passing game combined with a very good defense, he should get opportunities to do some damage.
It helps to play for a team with a strong national following. That will keep his exploits from going unnoticed.
So in the same way Najee Harris will follow Franco Harris as a Steelers first-round tailback, Najee has a decent chance (better than 16-1) to follow Franco as the offensive rookie of the year, too.