Could two 2022 NFL Rookie of the Year winners play in the same stadium? It’s certainly possible if a pair of New York Jets rookies have anything to say about it.
On Tuesday, we covered the strong Defensive Rookie of the Year odds for New York Giants defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, so today we’ll investigate how likely it is that one of his intrastadium rivals can win the 2022 NFL Rookie of the Year award on the offensive side of the ball.
As of this reporting, the New York Jets have two candidates in the top five for Offensive Rookie of the Year in wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall.
Garrett Wilson is certainly the higher-profile choice given his draft pedigree and production on the big stage at Ohio State. The 6’0″ 190-pound receiver was the 10th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and the second wide receiver taken overall.
His rise into the top ten was not a shock considering he was coming off of a season that saw him haul in 70 receptions for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns while also adding another touchdown on the ground.
Despite not being a physically imposing receiver, Wilson is certainly physically gifted. His athleticism has been compared to Cirque Du Soleil performers, and his ability to make defenders miss after the catch has been proven time and time again. He is incredibly shifty in the open field and creates separation on his routes with relative ease.
The question for Wilson will be the performance of his quarterback, Zach Wilson. The 2nd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Zach Wilson struggled in his first year out of BYU, throwing for 2,334 yards in 13 starts with nine touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a 55.6% completion percentage.
The BYU grad often appeared overwhelmed by defensive pressure and a little slow to adjust to the speed of the NFL Game. His struggles early in the season caused many to designate the young signal-caller a bust, including former Super Bowl winner Trent Dilfer, who expressed concerns that Zach Wilson was trying to do too much.
While the young quarterback did show some improvement in the second half of the season, there are still plenty of questions surrounding his ability to compete with consistency at this level, which could make it hard for his rookie receiver to put up impressive enough stats to win the 2022 NFL Rookie of the Year.
Another thing working against Garrett Wilson is that only three of the last 19 winners of the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year have been wide receivers. Of course, one of them was last year with Ja’Marr Chase; however, there have been ten quarterbacks and six running backs awarded.
That means that it might be easier for his teammate Breece Hall to capture to award.
The rookie out of Iowa State was the first running back taken in the 2022 NFL Draft when the Jets traded up to get him with the fourth pick of the 2nd round.
Hall was tremendous in college, rushing for 1,572 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore and then following that up with 1,472 yards and 20 touchdowns rushing as a junior. He also added 302 receiving yards last year and three touchdowns to give him 1,774 yards from scrimmage.
Hall has good hands out of the backfield and the lateral agility to win in space, but he’s also displayed the physicality to succeed inside the tackles as well. He’s not quite the game-breaking type of player that Jonathan Taylor, Nick Chubb, or J.K. Dobbins were coming out of college in recent years, but he has the frame and skills the be successful at the next level.
The question will just be how much the Jets use him. True bell-cow runningbacks are increasingly rare in the modern NFL, and the Jets do have Michael Carter, who showed flashes of talent in his rookie season last year. They also have Ty Johnson, who they really like as a pass-catching back, so it remains to be seen how much they lean on the rookie, especially if they are trailing often, as they have been in recent seasons.
While the talent is there for both players, the biggest factor working against them might be the Jets themselves. Over the last few years, most Rookie of the Year winners have been on a good team or at least part of an explosive offense.
Ja’Marr Chase’s Bengals went to the Super Bowl last year. The Chargers were only 7-9 when Justin Herbert won in 2020, but they had the 9th-ranked offense in the league, which is a similar situation to when Kyler Murray won the year before.
However, when Saquon Barkley won in 2018, the Giants were only 5-11, so the blueprint is out there for a winner to come from a middle-tier offense, and the Jets don’t have to look too far away to find it.
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