With the NFL Draft in the rear view mirror and all the prospects now on NFL teams it’s time to look ahead to their rookie seasons. While top picks tend to get all the love for early Rookie of the Year projections, there are plenty of examples of second round picks and even mid round picks taking home the hardware. Here is a look at my Offensive Rookie of the Year Projections.
5. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
There is a good reason why Corey Davis was the fifth overall pick in the draft and it’s because he’s a flat out stud who dominated his competition. Davis gives this Titans offense a legit number one receiver who Marcus Mariota can go to when he needs big plays. While all of that helps Davis’ chances, we have to remember he plays on a run first offense that limits the amount of touches he can have. Add in that Eric Decker was just signed should also cut into his targets too.
4. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
You don’t break Barry Sanders’ single season all purpose yardage record without being a dynamic play maker. Carolina drafted McCaffrey because they needed to add some versatility to their offense. What will help McCaffrey is he will be getting the ball in a lot of different ways. Whether it is carries out of the backfield, catching passes and even returning kicks having all these different opportunities will only allow him to have more chances to impress. While that all sounds good McCaffrey is still not viewed as a starter as Stewart will be the lead back and Cam is bound to steal some goal line carries. Not to mention that their offensive line still has some serious questions.
3. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
Despite being selected in the third round three is plenty of optimism around Hunt and what he can do for the Chiefs offense. Kansas City has a talented offense but the running back position doesn’t have much big play ability. Spencer Ware is solid and steady and that’s about it. His inability to help out in the passing game and big play ability opens a door for Hunt who is tremendous in space. With Tyreek Hill moving full time to receiver it only means that Hunt has a big time opportunity. The big issue is the Chiefs are a veteran laden team and despite having a role in passing situations it may be hard to surpass the consistent Ware on the depth chart.
2. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
There is never going to be another Dak Prescott, but Deshaun Watson will have a lot of similar comparisons as he comes in to an established team and has the chance to lead them to a deep playoff run. With a tremendous defense and weapons around him Watson will not be asked to win a lot of games on his own. Throwing to good weapons and having a strong run game will put him into a position to have big time games. That all being said, Watson still isn’t a full guarantee that he’ll start not to mention he doesn’t have the elite offensive line to sit behind like Prescott had which could stifle the offense.
1. Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers
Winning the Rookie of the Year Award is all about talent and opportunity. Williams is a tough between the tackles runner who uses his size and power to break tackles and keep the chains moving. This is huge for the Packers and Williams as they really lack a between the tackles runner with only former receiver Ty Montgomery being the establish back. Williams likely gets the early carries and gives the Packers they haven’t had since the early Eddie Lacy days. Williams will have to hit early as the Packers did draft two other running backs who are also hoping to fill this role while we have to remember that the Packers are still a pass heavy team that will still use Montgomery quite a bit.