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#pounditFriday, October 30, 2020

5 favorites to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Joe Burrow

The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award can be tough to predict. It’s based as much on opportunity as anything else; if you don’t play as a rookie, you’re obviously not going to excel. Add in the uncertainty of predicting how a first-year player will adapt to the league, and it can be a bit of a crapshoot.

Still, we can make some educated guesses based on opportunity and ability. With that in mind, here are our five early favorites for 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

5. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts

Taylor will have to split time with Marlon Mack, which is a shame for him because he has a great situation otherwise. An incredibly productive college runner, Taylor will be behind the outstanding Colts offensive line, which should enable him to be productive from day one. The biggest hurdle will be Mack, who will get plenty of touches himself in the Indianapolis attack. That may limit Taylor’s upside, unfortunately.

4. Henry Ruggs, WR, Raiders

Speed kills, and Ruggs has a ton of it. With an established quarterback in Derek Carr, Ruggs should quickly become a trusted weapon in the Raider offense. He’s a good fit for the scheme, and has the ability to make huge plays with his legs. The Raiders should rely on Ruggs quickly considering their issues at the position in 2019. His skill and his fit in the offense should mean that he’s an impact player from day one.

3. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins

Awards like this come down to opportunity as much as they do talent, and Tagovailoa is going to have to compete with Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting job. To be clear, Tua has the tools to win this: great athleticism, skill, and a quality arm. He doesn’t have elite weapons, and he’s not guaranteed the starting job. If he ultimately wins that job, he may climb this list, because he certainly has the individual skillset to do it. If nothing else, he is already winning the popularity contests.

2. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Chiefs

The way the Chiefs’ offense is designed means everyone on the field can be an impact player at any time. Edwards-Helaire is perfectly equipped to fit in from the start. He can be a weapon in both the running and passing games, and with a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes and the other weapons around him, he’ll have the scheme to operate in and the touches to do damage with. This award can be about fit, and Edwards-Helaire is perfect for what the Chiefs do.

1. Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals

The No. 1 pick has to be the early favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year. For one, he’ll start immediately. With A.J. Green and Joe Mixon, he’ll have weapons. The team has some concerns about the offensive line, which could reduce Burrow’s effectiveness, but he has the skill players and the ability to be very good very quickly. This is still a quarterback league, and there’s no reason Burrow can’t be effective from the beginning.

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