On Day 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, 15 offensive players were taken off the board. The talent in this class, led by a group of quarterbacks with a lot of stars, could change the game. Inside the room, the likes of Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson are leading in the race for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Receiver candidates include Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Zay Flowers, Jordan Addison, and Quentin Johnston. When Jahmyr Gibbs and Bijan Robinson, two running backs with first-round experience, are added to the list, there are a lot of people who could win. We can’t forget about tight end Dalton Kincaid, who could put up big numbers in Buffalo from the slot.
So, with so many stars on Day 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, which prospects from later rounds have a chance to join the talk about Offensive Rookie of the Year? For a person to be on this list, he or she only needs to have been picked after the first round. So, without further ado, let’s start with a pretty clear choice.
1. Contender – Will Levis, QB, Titans
Picking a quarterback as a dark horse might be cheating, but Will Levis fits the bill. The Titans haven’t put too much pressure on their new center because they want to avoid the mistakes they made with Malik Willis last season.
When it comes to leading an attack, Levis and Willis couldn’t be more different. Fans might not like that the former Kentucky quarterback is more of a gunslinger, but he has a long history of running an NFL-style system in college.
As of this writing, the team in Tennessee has stuck with Ryan Tannehill. But it wouldn’t be surprising if the new leaders took a look at Levi’s and decided to speed up the retooling process in Nashville. The quarterback has big arms and is a good athlete. He could become an above-average starter in the league if he keeps getting better. With a good Year 1, Levis has a good story to tell about why Offensive Rookie of the Year is a good idea.
2. Contender – Jayden Reed, WR, Packers
Jayden Reed, a wide receiver, slipped under the notice during the 2023 NFL Draft. The longtime Michigan State receiver is a threat to score every time he gets the ball, and he gives the special teams unit another option in the return game.
Reed has mostly played from the slot during his time with the Packers so far. Since Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are about to take on bigger parts in their second years, Reed can fit right in between them. Green Bay also took two tight ends early in the draft, but the one who used to play for Michigan State is the most interesting of the bunch as a rookie.
3. Contender – Devon Achane, RB, Dolphins
Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. still have contracts with the Dolphins, so you can expect to see the two pros take their fair share of snaps out of the backfield. But at running back, Devon Achane should get the most important plays.
Achane is too small to be a bell cow, but he doesn’t have to be on the field for every play to make an impact. The former star at Texas A&M is electric when he has the ball in his hands and shows that he is a true two-way player.
Achane is hard to catch in space, and Mike McDaniel’s scheme fits him like a glove. Think of Mostert as younger and tougher, and that’s what Achane can be as a rookie. If the Dolphins use him more as the season goes on, he could be one of the best running backs in the NFL by January. In that case, the award for Offensive Rookie of the Year will be very close.
4. Contender – Kayshon Boutte, WR, Patriots
During this year’s draft process, Kayshon Boutte’s name went up and down like a roller coaster. Boutte went from being a guaranteed first-round pick to a prospect who fell all the way to No. 187 in the 2023 NFL Draft. This is because there were questions about him both on and off the field.
The former LSU Tiger was lucky to end up in a great place for a young pass catcher. Bill Belichick has a good track record, but the Patriots have been having trouble growing their receivers lately. New England will be the only team that can get Boutte to lock in.
Maybe Boutte will be pushed to reach his full ability by the chip on his shoulder. He is as excited as anyone with the ball in his hands, and as a big spot, he can do many different things. Mac Jones can use JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, and Tyquan Thornton, but Boutte has a lot more potential if the Patriots can get him to join the team. Put him on your list of candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year to wager a few punts on using bet on nfl games online.
5. Contender – Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Texans
Tank Dell is getting a lot of attention, which is fine, but I think Xavier Hutchinson could lead the Texans in catches. Hutchinson was not a very explosive player at Iowa State, but he is as steady and polished as they come.
Hutchinson is very fast and has all the skills he needs to keep getting ahead at a high level in the pros. The Cyclone pass catcher has good hands, smooth route running, and great speed in tight spaces. C.J. Stroud will look at both of the young wide receivers a lot, but don’t be surprised if his playbook with Hutchinson stands out. Read more from Wikipedia