AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year: Joe Burrow (QB) Bengals
This feels more obvious despite the #1 overall selection in the draft might let you believe. Typically, the team with the worst talent/record gets the #1 pick. This year, the Bengals severely underachieved with the amount of talent they possess. Injuries to key players at key positions matter. Burrow will be coming into an offense that has: Joe Mixon, A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, Auden Tate, and if he can stay healthy John Ross. This is plenty of firepower to kickstart Burrow’s career and to help him get acclimated quicker. Last year’s 1st rounder, Jonah Williams (T) will finally be healthy and able to protect Burrow’s blind side enough to get the ball to his weapons. The Bengals also went out and spent money on their defense in free agency. Say what you will but a solid defense can help alleviate pressure on a rookie QB to not have to score every drive. Burrow is one of the most pro ready QB’s to come out in a long time and he is landing in a place that has plenty of weapons to use at his disposal.
Runner Up: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year: Patrick Queen (LB) Ravens
Although not the first ‘backer off the board, many had Queen as the top one coming out. Regardless, Queen landed in the perfect situation with Baltimore. With the growing awareness and feel for the game, Queen has elite speed and tackling abilities that can roam sideline to sideline. He is also shown to be more than capable of covering TEs and RBs out of the backfield. LB was one of the few needs the Ravens needed to fill and they got possibly the best one in the draft. Queen feels like a Ravens player and should fit in nicely with that dominant defense.
Runner Up: Kenneth Murray (LB) Chargers
NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year: CeeDee Lamb (WR) Cowboys
This was another easier choice as this was one of the best selections in the draft. The Cowboys got many draft experts’ top WR in the draft. Lamb can do it all from the wideout position. The only question that will deter him from this hardware is whether or not Dak will be back and how he will spread the ball around with his 3 receivers in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and now Lamb. CeeDee will dominate from day one as defenses won’t be able to commit as many double teams on the other receivers in hopes that a DB can stick with Lamb for too long. He has the strength, length, hands, competitiveness, play speed, and ability to make people miss. Their offensive weaponry is top 5 from last year and now they add the best WR in the draft.
Runner Up: Brandon Ayuik (WR) 49ers
NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year: Chase Young (DE) Redskins
I was close to putting Simmons on here instead of Young. The only reason I did not do that is the potential for him to have a Nick Bosa impact on day 1. If that is the case this is easy as the Redskins are most likely not going to be as bad with the talent they have on that defense. Young is long, strong, athletic, and technical in his attacks. He has more intangibles and production at this point than the Bosas, with them only having better pass rush technique up to this point. The coaching of Ron Rivera will only create more opportunities next to his physical dominance. Although Simmons can do everything on the Football field, I’m not necessarily sure that Arizona will know how to use him properly. This is not about Simmons’ coaching limitations but more about Young’s ability.
Runner Up: Isaiah Simmons (Defense) Cardinals