Bijan Robinson, Will Anderson Favorites for Rookie of the Year Awards

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Bijan Robinson, Will Anderson Favorites for Rookie of the Year Awards
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Two quarterbacks went at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft, with Bryce Young going No. 1 to the Carolina Panthers and C.J. Stroud selected second by the Houston Texans. But neither top pick is the favorite for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. 

Bijan Robinson Favored for Offensive Award

When the Atlanta Falcons took Texas running back Bijan Robinson at No. 8, he became the first running back taken in the first round of the draft since 2020 when the Kansas City Chiefs took Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the 32nd pick, and the first running back to go in the top 10 since Saquon Barkley went No. 2 in 2018 to the New York Giants. 

“When we talk about Bijan Robinson, he’s an impact offensive player,” Atlanta Falcons general Manager Terry Fontenot said to Mike Florio. “He’s a playmaker …  and we’re taking playmakers, home-run hitters, touchdown makers, guys that can really impact our total team, so you never focus on a particular position. You take a positionless football.”

Robinson ran for 1,580 yards and averaged 6.1 yards per attempt last season at Texas while also scoring 18 TDs and recording 805 receiving yards on 60 catches and eight TD receptions. He also recorded a single-season PFF broken tackle record with 104 in 2022. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, combined with his power and elusiveness should allow him to translate to the NFL quicker than his rookie counterparts. 

DraftKings lists Robinson as the favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year at +300. 

Young, Stroud Next on List

Despite the late push on the odds board from Will Levis, Young ended up being the top pick in the draft. Over the final days before the draft, Young’s odds fluctuated from -1200 to -500 before going all the way to -20000 hours before the first pick was announced. 

Young sits second on the odds board for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award at +475, making him and Robinson the only two players below +500 on the betting board. 

“He’s had such a prolific career and he makes all the plays,” Carolina Panthers coach Frank Reich said of Young. “Every kind of play you want to see a quarterback make, situationally, in the big moments, he makes the little throws, the big moments, the big throws; they are all over the tape.”

Ohio State teammates Jaxon Smith-Njigba and C.J. Stroud are tied for the third-best odds for Offensive Rookie of the Year at +700 on DraftKings. Detroit running back Jayhyr Gibbs and Indianapolis quarterback Anthony Richardson round out the top five at +900. 

Will Anderson Favored on Defense

After taking Stroud, Houston wasn’t done at the top of the draft. The Texans traded up from No. 12 to No. 3, sending the Arizona Cardinals picks No. 12 and No. 33, a first-round pick in 2024 and a third-rounder in 2024 while also getting back a 2023 fourth-rounder as part of the deal. 

With No. 3, the Texans went ahead and drafted Alabama edge, Will Anderson. 

"The thing about Will, and I told him earlier, like he doesn't have to be the staple of the defense," Ryans said. "He just has to come in and be the best Will Anderson. That's it. He doesn't have to do anything more than that, nothing more, nothing less. Just be the best version of himself, and that's going to be good enough for our team."

Anderson won the Bednarik Award last season and led the SEC in sacks (10) and tackles for loss (17). He’s the betting favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year at +350 on BetMGM. 

Jalen Carter, who was projected as the top prospect in the draft early in the evaluation period, was selected at No. 9 by the Philadelphia Eagles and is second on the odds board for Defensive Rookie of the Year, coming in at +600 on FanDuel

“I think everyone will tell you this is one of the most talented players in the draft,” Philadelphia General Manager Howie Rosman said of Carter.  “This is one of the most talented players to come out of college football in a long time.”

Despite dealing with injuries that limited his snaps, Carter finished with 32 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles during Georgia’s 2022 national title-winning season. 

Las Vegas edge Tyree Wilson (+750), New England cornerback Christian Gonzalez and Seattle cornerback Devon Witherspoon (+1100) are the other favorites on FanDuel for Defensive Rookie of the Year. 

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Bryce Derouin

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