2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds, Picks: Bet Bijan Robinson
Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Bijan Robinson.
We're continuing to dig into season-long awards bets for the 2023 NFL season, and today we're hitting Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY).
The 2022 draft was a weak class overall for offensive players, but this year was loaded at the top. Three quarterbacks went in the first four picks, two running backs were top 12 and wide receivers were selected with four straight selections toward the end of the first round.
That should make for a competitive and fun OROY race. Let's build a historical winner profile, then dive into 24 names to consider.
Be sure to check out all the other awards previews and picks:
- Most Valuable Player (MVP)
- Defensive Rookie of the Year (DROY)
- Coach of the Year
- Offensive Player of the Year (OPOY)
- Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY)
- Comeback Player of the Year
- NFL Season Leaders
- Season Awards podcast ft. Gilles Gallant & Brendan Glasheen
Who Wins Offensive Rookie of the Year?
1. Big favorites don't tend to win.
Over the past decade, Kyler Murray (+150) and Saquon Barkley (+155) were the only two OROY winners who started the season shorter than +800. History says this isn't typically an award big favorites win.
This year's race has a clear favorite in Falcons RB Bijan Robinson, who's listed between +250 and +300 at most books.
But Robinson isn't the only rookie with short odds. Panthers QB Bryce Young (+500) and Colts QB Anthony Richardson (+800) are that price or lower at most books, while Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs and Texans QB C.J. Stroud are below that number at some books as well.
2. Almost any position can win — but QBs tend to be the best bet.
Two of the last four OROYs were quarterbacks. Go back further and it's three out of seven, six out of 13 and nine out of 19. The math is pretty consistent — there's about a 50% chance the OROY will be a quarterback.
This used to be a running back's award. Historically, 63% of OROYs played the position. Running backs won five of the first eight OROYs at the start of the century, but have only taken four of 15 since.
We've had seven wide receiver winners in the last three decades — about one every four or five years — but have two wideout winners in a row (Garrett Wilson and Ja'Marr Chase). The only positions with no history of winning are tight end and offensive line.
3. Draft slot is incredibly predictive; we almost certainly need a first-round pick.
Over the last 19 seasons, a remarkable 16 OROY winners (84%) were drafted in the first round. It gets better. Fifteen of the 19 were top-12 picks. And eleven of them — still 58%! — were taken in the top eight.
Garrett Wilson was drafted 10th. Ja'Marr Chase went fifth. Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray and Saquon Barkley went sixth, first and second, respectively. Turns out teams are pretty good at drafting star talent! Of course, it helps that these guys were joining bad teams with a clear path to playing time.
This year's draft had five guys taken in the top 12: Bryce Young (No. 1), C.J. Stroud (2), Anthony Richardson (4), Bijan Robinson (8) and Jahmyr Gibbs (12). It appears books have caught onto this trend, which is why all five have shorter odds now and must still be considered, despite Rule No. 1.
It's worth noting that RB is the one position to stray from the first-round trend. Alvin Kamara (No. 67) and Eddie Lacy (61) won from outside the first round over the last decade, and Clinton Portis (51), Anthony Thomas (38) and Mike Anderson (189) won earlier this century.
Be careful about betting on a long-shot, non-RB. Dak Prescott and Anquan Boldin are the only non-RB OROY winners drafted outside the first round in the last 30 years.
4. Voters care more about big stats than winning.
Winning doesn't seem to be a big focus for OROY. Over the last 13 years, only three winners have been on teams that won at least 10 games. In fact, eight of them — almost two-thirds — played for a team that finished below .500, like Garett Wilson on the Jets last season.
Of course, winning never hurts. Any quarterback leading a team to the playoffs will always have a case. But Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray, Cam Newton and Sam Bradford won OROY even with bad records, and Mac Jones didn't win despite taking the Patriots to the playoffs.
This just isn't a winner's award — it's about the numbers, and you need a lot.
Over the last decade, a typical OROY RB needs at least 1,300 scrimmage yards and 10 TDs. A winning receiver likely needs 80 catches, 1,300 yards and 10 scores. Justin Jefferson had 88/1400/7 and didn't win in 2020.
So what are we looking for in an OROY?
We want a first-round draft pick, preferably a top-12 pick. Any position will do, but QB is typically best. And stats matter much more than winning.
Now let's look at a slew of the names to consider in this field …
Stay Away from Non-RBs Outside the First Round
WR Rashee Rice, Chiefs +4000
TE Dalton Kincaid, Bills +4000
WR Jalin Hyatt, Giants +5000
WR Jayden Reed, Packers +6000
WR Jonathan Mingo, Panthers +7500
QB Will Levis, Titans +7500
WR Marvin Mims, Broncos +8000
WR Tank Dell, Texans +10000
It's fun to watch training camp and preseason and bet on the hot new name, but typically preseason hype is just that — hype. At the end of the day, it's really hard for rookies to make an impact, and exponentially more unlikely the further down the draft board a player was selected.
Remember, we've had only two non-RBs win OROY from outside the first round the past three decades.
Will Levis may not even be the Titans' backup quarterback, let alone starter. Dalton Kincaid would be the first TE OROY winner ever, and rookies tight ends struggle to put up numbers. Rashee Rice, Jalin Hyatt, Jayden Reed, Jonathan Mingo, Marvin Mims and Tank Dell all seem to have opportunity to rise quickly on open depth charts.
If I had to pick one name on this list to sprinkle as a long-shot sleeper, Mingo stands out. He has a real path to WR1 in Carolina with just D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen in his way, and he's a big, physical receiver who's connected well with Bryce Young in preseason games. Rookie QBs have a tendency to lock onto fellow rookies as top targets.
But therein lies the problem — if Mingo is good enough to win OROY, then his more heralded QB probably is too and will win it instead.
RB Sleepers to Monitor
RB Kendre Miller, Saints +5000
RB Tyjae Spears, Titans +5000
RB Zach Charbonnet, Seahawks +5000
RB Devon Achane, Dolphins +6000
RB Tank Bigsby, Jaguars +7500
Running back tends to be about opportunity as much as talent, so that's why it sometimes works to look a bit further down the draft board to find a sleeper. Guys like Tyler Allgeier and Dameon Pierce were not top draft picks a year ago, but they ended up having big seasons when opportunity presented itself.
Kendre Miller has the most obvious immediate opportunity since Alvin Kamara is suspended to start the season, though Jamaal Williams is still expected to lead the way early on. It looked like Devon Achane had good opportunity in a wide-open Miami backfield, but then he got hurt in preseason and now Miami is one of the teams considering a trade for Jonathan Taylor.
Tyjae Spears, Zach Charbonnet and Tank Bigsby are behind clear bell-cow RBs. I have a hard time getting too excited about Spears or Bigsby even if they do get an opportunity since both would be running behind bottom-five offensive lines.
Charbonnet is the name I'll keep an eye on. We just saw how good a runner can look for Seattle with Ken Walker's breakout rookie season — and Walker has already shown himself to have some injury issues, both last season and this preseason. Charbonnet is a good pass catcher and a powerful runner, and he has a nose for the end zone with 27 rushing TDs in his last two seasons at UCLA.
There's a great chance our 2023 Offensive Rookie of the Year will be a player selected in the first round, but if you're looking for a long shot, I'll nibble on Zach Charbonnet (+5000) and Jonathan Mingo (+7500).
The First-Round Receivers
WR Jordan Addison, Vikings +1700
WR Zay Flowers, Ravens +2000
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seahawks +2100
WR Quentin Johnston, Chargers +2500
We've made it to the first-round guys, but none of these players were taken in the top 12, where over half of all OROYs this century were drafted. And remember, we need serious production.
Ja'Marr Chase had 81 catches for 1,455 yards and 13 TDs. Odell Beckham Jr. put up 91/1,305/12 in only 12 games. Garrett Wilson was a bit of a step down in a soft OROY year, but even he caught 83 balls for 1,103 yards and four scores.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Quentin Johnston were the first two receivers selected, but they're the two who are hardest to get excited about.
Smith-Njigba is clearly WR3 at best behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, and he may miss the start of the season with a fractured wrist. Johnston is also clearly WR3 behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and probably behind Austin Ekeler in the pecking order, too.
It's just hard to see a path to something like 80 catches and 1,200 yards with so many names ahead.
Jordan Addison is my favorite rookie receiver fit, but he's also effectively WR3 behind two target monsters in Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson. Addison been terrific in preseason with the No. 2 PFF rookie grade among skill players, but he might need an injury to Jefferson or Hockenson to get the required numbers.
The one guy in this group with the cleanest path to top billing appears to be Zay Flowers, if only because the Ravens receiver room looks fairly unpredictable. OBJ and Rashod Bateman come with accolades but long injury histories, so there's a path for Flowers to get to WR1 — though that may still be second in line behind TE Mark Andrews.
Still, OC Todd Monken's new offense will almost certainly skew pass-heavy, an abrupt change for Lamar Jackson. That means a lot of extra targets, and targets mean opportunity.
I was all set to recommend Flowers at +3000 a week ago, but then he had a nice preseason and dropped to +2000. He's still my top pick outside the five favorites, but I don't see much value now.
I expect Offensive Rookie of the Year to ultimately come down to the five favorites among the top-12 draft picks. It's unlikely all five wash out and leave the field wide open. So which one will it be?
Those Immediate Starting Quarterbacks
QB Bryce Young, Panthers +500
QB Anthony Richardson, Colts +800
QB C.J. Stroud, Texans +1000
If you've been reading my preseason previews, you're probably expecting a C.J. Stroud pick here with my Texans love, but this is one Houston pick I'll pass on.
Stroud should be fine, but my belief in Houston rides on improvement on three fronts: offensive line, defense and coaching. OROY doesn't prioritize winning, and there are better ways to bet Houston if you believe — like +1100 to win the division or +2500 for DeMeco Ryans to win Coach of the Year.
Stroud's odds are a touch short, but Bryce Young's number is wild at +500.
The Panthers have been miserable in the preseason, with the offensive line's performance especially troubling. Young could struggle to top 3,500 yards or 20 TDs, and he's not likely to add major value on the ground. History says he's also not likely to put up a big winning season.
Take a look at how recent No. 1 QBs have fared as rookies: Trevor Lawrence went 3-14, Joe Burrow 2-8-1, Kyler Murray 3-7, Baker Mayfield 6-7, Jared Goff 0-7 and Jameis Winston 6-10. Quarterbacks don't need to win games to win OROY, but it's hard to see Young getting the wins or the numbers, and there's no way he should be implied 17% to win.
The one rookie QB who could put up eye-popping numbers is Anthony Richardson.
Shane Steichen led an Eagles offense that ranked top five in the NFL in rushing attempts, yards and scores. Expect more of the same in Indianapolis, with Richardson used as a dangerous weapon to open up the run game in many of the same ways Jalen Hurts was utilized last year en route to a near-MVP campaign.
Hurts had double-digit TDs as a runner each of the past two seasons. Richardson is bigger than Hurts and will be a strong goal-line weapon with a good line, so he should get some scores. He'll also be used early and often on designed runs, and he will be a huge threat on scrambles. He's far quicker and more elusive than Hurts — think Justin Fields. If Richardson stays healthy, we could see a 1,000-yard runner.
I'm not sure the passing numbers will be pretty. The Eagles ranked bottom 10 in pass attempts last year, and Richardson is extremely raw as a passer. He'll probably turn the ball over a lot, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him fall short of 3,000 yards or barely hit double-digit passing TDs. Again, think Fields.
Still, it's a fantasy football world in 2023, and huge rushing numbers would light up fantasy scoreboards. The last five OROY winners at QB all finished as top-10 fantasy quarterbacks. If Richardson hits 1,000 yards and eight to 10 scores as a runner, he'll finish top 10 and be a quality option for OROY.
Richardson's odds look about right at +800 — but I like one RB even better.
The RB Favorites
RB Bijan Robinson, Falcons +300
RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions +1000
Jahmyr Gibbs has gotten rave reviews in camp with his elite speed, and there's talk of him being used in an Alvin Kamara-type role, which fits with his slight build and quickness.
Detroit needs receiving help after Amon-Ra St. Brown, and the Gibbs pick makes a lot more sense at No. 12 if you think of him less as a RB and more as a weapon. Kamara caught 81 balls as a rookie for 825 yards. That's asking a lot of Gibbs, but something like 65 catches for 600 yards could be in play.
But will he get enough reps as an actual runner? The Lions have consistently used multiple RBs in recent years, and new signing David Montgomery looks in line to step into the Jamaal Williams role as the lead carrier between the tackles, which could mean grabbing most of the rushing TDs.
Kamara ran only 120 times as a rookie. Even 150 carries for Gibbs might mean 700 yards, putting him around 1,300 combined scrimmage yards with a chance at double-digit scores as a high-end outcome.
Those numbers would be in the mix in many years, but I think they're a median or even low-end outcome for my pick, Bijan Robinson.
Bijan Robinson’s first carry in the NFL is a good one 😳 pic.twitter.com/F58FnbOuP2
— PFF (@PFF) August 18, 2023
The Falcons were the only team in the league to run the ball on over half of their plays last season, including 48.8% while losing, and those rates remained similar under Desmond Ridder.
Atlanta under head coach Arthur Smith will run, run and run some more. The Falcons ran 559 times last season, which leaves more than enough carries for Robinson to split workload with Tyler Allgeier and Cordarelle Patterson, and still have a mammoth workload, maybe even approaching 300 carries.
He's also likely to be very efficient as a runner. Atlanta has one of the best run-blocking lines in the league, and both Allgeier and Patterson cleared 4.8 yards per carry. Robinson, a special running prospect, is even better. If he hits 5.0 YPC on 300 carries, that's 1,500 yards, enough to contend for a rushing crown. Even 250 carries puts him close to that high-end combined yards outcome for Gibbs.
Robinson is also a good pass catcher if Atlanta deploys him in that role. He scored 35 touchdowns in his last two seasons at Texas, so he clearly has a nose for the end zone.
Smith is no stranger to deploying a workhorse RB, unleashing the beast we know as Derrick Henry. Henry led the league in rushing attempts, yards and TDs in both of Smith's years as offensive coordinator in Tennessee.
Atlanta's schedule starts out against the Panthers, Packers, Lions, Jaguars and Texans — all winnable games against soft defenses. I bet Robinson at +450 on draft night and hate to recommend a favorite at +300 given the history of this award, but if we wait around, even that number may be gone.
Do yourself a favor and roll some of that sweet u4.5 QBs money over on Bijan Robinson for Rookie of the Year, +450 at DK.
Get it while it's hot.
— Brandon Anderson (@wheatonbrando) April 28, 2023
I think Robinson, quite literally, runs away with Offensive Rookie of the Year. His median outcomes look good enough to top the field, and his high-end outcomes blow away the competition.
I make Robinson over a 35% favorite to win OROY, which means he would have value even at +200. He's a top draft pick stepping into a very good offense and should have a huge role, so he checks nearly every box.
The Offensive Rookie of the Year race has not even officially begun, but I think it's all but over if Bijan Robinson stays healthy. I'm betting Robinson +300 to run away with OROY in 2023.