Who Will be the 2021-22 Offensive Rookie Of The Year?
Written By: Eric Shaw
The Enquirer/Albert Cesare / USA TODAY NETWORK
If you were on social media at all over the past twelve hours, you have probably heard about the outstanding week Cincinnati rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had. Chase was the fifth overall pick in the 2021 draft, out of LSU who played with current Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow the season before was a rookie but encountered a season ending injury that put a question mark on the rest of his career. What many thought would be the ideal pick to protect their franchise quarterback in star tackle out of Oregon of Penei Sewell, the Bengals had a different idea to pair up some old friends. Ja’marr Chase was obviously the better pick as he is trying to secure rookie of the year and Sewell as of right now isn't even the best tackle picked in the draft. But why is Ja’Marr Chase worthy of offensive rookie of the year? Well, on January 2nd 2022, Chase did something no other rookie has ever done. Chase recorded a whopping 266 years in a single game, along with eleven receptions and three touchdowns. This season wasn’t always all smooth sailing for Chase, but he may have just reclaimed his position. To add to his case, Ja’Marr was also selected to the Pro Bowl in just his first season.
Ja’Marr Chase Season Stats: 79 receptions 1,429 yards 13 touchdowns
Mac Jones celebrates his touchdown pass with center David Andrews / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Before this magical week 17 performance by Chase, our other top contender out of Alabama, Mac Jones. Jones was the fifth quarterback taken off the board in 2021 by the New England Patriots, and he has been good is the easiest way to put it. Mac seems to fit the Patriots scheme so well. Belichick has shaped Jones into the next franchise quarterback for New England. While Chase had a couple of dry weeks, Jones continued to prove he was the best quarterback off the board in 2021, helping the Patriots accomplish a seven game win streak and taking over the AFC for a couple of weeks. On January 2nd 2022, the Patriots played the Jacksonville Jaguars, who had the number one overall pick and selected Trevor Lawrence. Jones proved he is the better QB as the Patriots ended up scoring fifty points on them. Jones ranks top fifteen
in both passing yards and passing touchdowns in the entire NFL. He ranks first in passing yards, passing touchdowns, passer rating, completion percentage, and has more total wins than the other first round quarterbacks combined. Jones is also very close to breaking Dak Prescott’s current rookie completion percentage for a single season. The record sits at 67.8% and Jones has a completion percentage of 67.6%. So with a solid week 18, there is a chance Jones could break that record.
Mac Jones Season Stats: 3,540 yards 21 touchdowns 12 interceptions 54.3 QBR
As Ja’Marr Chase and Mac Jones are the probably the most favored to win OROTY (offensive rookie of the year) there have been many other solid players who are just as worthy to win the award. My honorable mentions go out to players like Jaylen Waddle of the Miami Dolphins has been ballin out this year. Waddle is only two receptions away from tying the 2003 rookie record set by Anquan Boldin. With one week left when Waddle is about to catch three passes, he will hold the new record for most receptions by a rookie in a single season. Another great recipient of this award could be Kyle Pitts. Pitts too was selected to the Pro Bowl in his first season, which could help build a better case for him. Pitts was selected fourth overall by the Atlanta Falcons. Not much has been great about that team this year besides Pitts. The Falcons have a lot to look forward to as he may be their next Tony Gonzales. Other great candidates could be Rashawn Slater of the Los Angeles Chargers and Creed Humphrey of the Kansas City Chiefs. Slater missed one week due to Covid protocols but was named a Pro Bowl starter due to his amazing year. Humphrey was also selected to the Pro Bowl this season due to him having the highest PFF grade (92.2) among all centers. The next closest player to him is Jason Kelce of the Philadelphia Eagles with a PFF grade of 84.6.
Who do you think deserves the Offensive Rookie of the Year award? Did Ja’Marr Chase's week seventeen cap off his spectacular rookie season? Or should Mac Jones win the award for taking the lead role of quarterback one right away for the New England Patriots? Or should it be someone I did not list like Najee Harris or Javonte Williams?