2021 NFL Offensive Rookie Futures
NFL

NFL Futures Part 2: A Look At The Various Cases For NFL Rookie Of The Year

In Part 1, we talked about NFL Comeback Player of the Year odds, some team playoff odds, and a few Week 1 lines to jump in early on. In Part 2, we will be making cases for three Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates, and three picks for the NFL MVP.

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Rookie of the Year Picks

The Obvious Play: Trevor Lawrence +300

Trevor Lawrence is the most hyped quarterback we’ve had coming out of the draft since Andrew Luck. He’s got all the tools Justin Herbert possesses but has done more at a higher level than Herbert did in College.

Lawrence is also sliding into a really good situation in Jacksonville. Though the offensive line isn’t great — or even very good at all — that didn’t stop Herbert from winning the award in 2020.

I’m not implying Lawrence will be as clutch under duress or come into the league and immediately blow the doors off the competition. However, the last few winners of this award have been quarterbacks, even when there have been skill position players putting up relatively huge seasons as rookies (Josh Jacobs, James Robinson, Justin Jefferson).

Lawrence also has an array of weapons at his disposal (Chark, Shenault, Robinson, Etienne). Sure, Urban Meyer is only just getting back into coaching and new to the NFL, but the Jags have a great stable of coaches and skill position guys to allow Lawrence the opportunity to thrive early.

The Value Play: Justin Fields +700

As we mentioned with Lawrence, this award has gone more to quarterbacks in recent years. Fields, like Lawrence, has great legs, size, and awareness to keep himself upright in the pocket. Over the recent years, we’ve had some great examples of dual-threat QBs having early success in the NFL, even with a bad offensive line.

Fields would fall into that same category, as the Bears struggled to keep both Foles and Trubisky clean last season. We’ve seen mild success with dual threats like Hurts, Murray, Allen, Jackson, and Deshaun Watson, so who is to say Fields can’t get off to a similar start?

The question you have to ask yourself with Fields is, “Will the Bears be involved in enough high-scoring games to necessitate the opportunity for Fields to put up big numbers?” The Bears defense is good, but if Fields turns this team into a playoff team and makes the plays he’s capable of, it should offset an argument from a raw numbers perspective.

The Longshot Play: Jamar Chase +1200

I was going to go with Kyle Pitts here, but I’m avoiding him for a few reasons. For one, rookie tight ends are traditionally slow to develop in the NFL. Unlike wide receivers, tight ends have to also get acclimated in the run blocking game as well. Also, who was the last tight end to even be a finalist in the Rookie of the Year conversation?

It’s been decades. I like Chase as a deep play here. Not only does Chase already have a good connection with Burrow from college, but Chase has spent the entire year and a half preparing for the NFL.

He should be NFL-ready early. He should also be immediately starting on the outside, opposite Tee Higgins. With the Bengals defense still quite bad, the Bengals should be involved in some shootouts. Joe Burrow has progressed well from his season-ending knee injury and demonstrated he can put up big numbers through the air in the NFL. Chase is in an ideal situation to win OROY.

NFL MVP Picks

Dak Prescott +1700

In the last article, we established a strong case as to why Dak Prescott is a prime candidate to win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year at +475. This time around, we’re making the case as to why he can win the NFL MVP.

Prior to going down last season with the leg injury, Dak Prescott was on pace to smash the single-season passing yardage record. This season, the Defense should be close to just as bad as it was in 2020. Prescott has one of the most talented, if not THE most talented skill groups in the NFL.

Having a bad defense and great skill guys is the key ingredient to having a massive season on offense. Prescott is my favorite pick for the MVP in 2021.

Matthew Stafford +1600

I’m a little surprised Prescott has longer odds than Stafford. It appears I’m not the only one who believes Matt Stafford being dropped into the best offensive situation of his career may translate into a career season. It’s not unrealistic to expect a career season, even at his age.

I think a lot of people are under the impression that a guy who has battled some back issues and played over a decade for an awful franchise means he has no shot at an MVP, but the oddsmakers say otherwise. The fact he has the 5th-best odds at winning MVP should tell you all you need to know.

With a decent offensive line and a plethora of weapons (not to mention a coach who will put him in the best situations to succeed), Stafford should have one of the best years of his career in Los Angeles this season.

Joe Burrow +5000

We talked about Jamar Chase having a decent shot to win OROY, but what about Joe Burrow? Burrow is 50:1 to win the MVP, but it’s not unreasonable.

On the one hand, MVPs typically go to teams who at least make the playoffs. However, we’ve got a few examples of it going to guys on fairly disappointing squads. First and foremost, this award is about the guy who is the most valuable.

If Joe Burrow carries his team to victory and a playoff appearance — or at least close to it — he’s already likely to be in the conversation. The other side of that is, if Joe Burrow –who should be in plenty of shootouts thanks to their bad defense — is racking up massive yardage and limiting turnovers, he could be in this conversation regardless of whether the team is in the playoff hunt or not.

It’s an offense capable of a huge season, so why does the guy behind the wheel have such long odds? I’m not sure why his odds are so long, but I am sure I’m looking to sprinkle a little something on him at 50:1.

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