Now that the NFL Draft is over, we finally know where the top offensive talents will be playing and who they will be playing with. That in turn means that it is a very good time to look ahead to the Offensive Rookie of the Year race to see if there are is any value to be had in the futures. We have to recognize, though, that this is a tough game to play - at this time last year no one was thinking that Dak Prescott was going to be relevant, never mind that he would win the award easily. With that in mind here's a look at where we stand right now ( odds are from Bovada ):
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville (+400): Fournette is a great running back who will get plenty of touches, so I would have no argument with anyone who wants to pick him. I won't pick him at this price, though. If Blake Bortles doesn't improve tremendously this year then defenses will be able to focus on Fournette, and his health has to be a concern. Deserving favorite, but no value.
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (+550): McCaffrey is truly amazing, and he will find lots of ways to get noticed. Not only does he run the ball well, but he's a very good receiver and a real threat on returns. With his talent plus his versatility and propensity for highlight reel plays he would normally be an automatic play. There are two things that scare me off at this price, though. First, the Panthers drafted another hugely-talented back in Curtis Samuel, so McCaffrey might not get as many touches as would be ideal. He may even find himself playing decoy for Samuel more often than I would like. Second, he's a tough fit for Carolina's offense. He's a guy who gets the ball and makes things happen, while that offense tends to get guys the ball deeper after they have already made something happen. I like Cam Newton a lot, but there are about 15 quarterbacks I would rather see McCaffery paired with.
DeShaun Watson, QB, Houston (+600): Watson has a couple of things going for him. First, seven of the last 13 winners of this award have been quarterbacks, including Dak Prescott last year, so his position makes it easier for him to win than others. Second, coming from Clemson he has played at a very high level the last two years, so the pressure of this situation should not be too much for him. And third, he joins a better team than a lot of young quarterbacks get to - one that has serious playoff expectations on them this year. He also will be playing for a coach who has a reputation as a QB savant, though, that certainly hasn't helped prior QBs in Houston under Bill O'Brien. Despite all that, though, I am not optimistic at this price. You can never know how a guy is going to look early on - for every Dak Prescott there are four Jared Goffs. And we can't even be certain that Watson will be starting right away for Houston. And there are just so many other talented guys who are less risky. I wouldn't be shocked if Watson wins it, and if a QB wins it then it will be him, but I see no value at this price.
Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee (+800): Davis is an exceptional receiver with great hands who has a chance to be a huge asset for Tennessee. Some complained that he was drafted too high, but I have no fear of that. Marcus Mariota could use a favorite target, and Davis could be targeted in the redzone often. Davis won't be my pick - mostly because wide receivers have only won twice in the last 13 years - but there could be some value here.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota (+800): This is a great choice. Cook is a freakish talent who fell into the second round because of off-field concerns. He landed on a team that knows very well how to use running backs and is desperate for a guy they can feature. They are a squad that will rely on their strong defense, so they will look to run the ball heavily to run the clock and keep pressure off the defense. Cook is flashy and impressive and could have big numbers. At this price there is plenty of value.
Mike Williams, WR, L.A. Chargers (+1200): Williams is another receiver that offers some value. Philip Rivers is a very good quarterback, and he has to know that his years are becoming numbered, so he should be motivated. Rivers can help receivers have big numbers, and Williams is certainly talented enough to shine. The Chargers probably won't be great, but Williams could post some nice numbers in a hurry if the chemistry with Rivers is strong.
Mitch Trubisky, QB, Chicago (+1600): I am more optimistic about Trubisky than Chicago fans seem to be - judging by the fact that he got booed at a Bulls game right after being picked. Still, I don't see it happening for him this year. He is on a truly lousy team, and that isn't going to make his transition easy. If he were a stock I would buy it, but I would be looking to hold it for a few years instead of trying for the big short-term score.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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