In this edition of “Guess the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year,” we have six candidates ready to make a sudden impact on the teams that selected them in the NFL
The great thing about this year’s rookie class is the variety of potential. Running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers – Oh My! I listed six players, but as many as nine or 10 could take home hardware. That’s how good the field is an how much some teams are in need of star power. Look for running backs to set the tone and the wide receivers to play catch up as the season progresses.
While they are not on this list, watch Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end OJ Howard and Carolina’s Christian MCaffrey. If Howard grabs 70 balls, add him to this list. If McCaffery becomes a bigger version of Darren Sproles, he could gain votes.
He’s an early look at six candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Leonard Fournette, Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars
If you are a running back taken with the fourth pick in the NFL Draft, you are expected to rush for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns. There is already a bevy of expectations for Fournette down in Jacksonville. Dealing with TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory in a crowded backfield might also be an issue. The Jaguars need a 1,000-yard rusher – something the team hasn’t had since Maurice Jones-Drew in 2011.
Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have a quarterback in Sam Bradford and a decent passing attack. Cook will start out sharing time in the backfield with Latavius Murray, but will eventually grab the starting spot by Week 6. Furthermore, Cook on a fast carpet could bring excitement to the Minnesota running game. Cook may not make people forget Adrian Peterson, but he will make people remember him.
Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Houston Texans
Watson was not drafted this high not to start in Houston. While I like Tom Savage and think the Texans can win with him behind center, Watson is the man who will open the season as the starter. In fact, Watson’s arm is the missing piece to the offensive issues with the AFC South team. For one thing, Watson and DeAndre Hopkins are going to be exciting. 3,800 yards and 25 touchdowns aren’t unreasonable numbers to expect this season.
Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Tennessee Titans
Davis gives the Titans a legit speed burner on the outside and helps take the focus off the running game. Marcus Mariota should have hugged general manager Jon Robison when the team used the No. 5 pick on the Western Michigan star. Davis will be everything Kendell Wright wasn’t in this offense. He should be the clear top wideout on the roster once the team moves to training camp.
Joe Mixon, Running Back, Cincinnati Bengals
I put Mixon on this list because he could be the best running back in this draft class. Set aside everything negative about him. Mixon’s combination of running and pass catching is the best of any runner drafted this year. He will take touches away from Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. The Bengals’ running game just got that much better.
Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Los Angeles Chargers
Philip Rivers needs another target to throw to. Imagine Williams and Keenan Allen on the outside and Rivers slinging the ball all over the field in Los Angeles. Williams has the size to be a true red zone and end zone threat. The Chargers have a top-10 potential running back in Melvin Gordon. Now, the receiving corps gets an upgrade.