Week 1 of the NFL season is complete. Months of analysis can be validated or thrown out of the window based on what was learned over the past five days. The Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year markets have already shifted.
Here are the five favorites, via Vegas insider consensus, as I see them, as well as some other performances of note:
Offensive Rookie of the Year
1. RB Bijan Robinson, Falcons (+242)
Robinson did not have a monster debut, but it is clear he will be an integral part of their offensive gameplan. He did score a touchdown, which is important for him to keep pace on the year. The six receptions were the most important aspect of his stat line. Six receptions for 27 yards is not that impressive on the surface but if he averages even four receptions per game, that amounts to 68 catches over the course of the season.
2. QB Anthony Richardson, Colts (+600)
Richardson completed 64.9% of his passes for 223 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a loss to Jacksonville. He added 40 yards and a touchdown on the ground but was sacked four times and suffered what sounds like a minor injury. There were enough reasons to be optimistic about a ticket for Richardson as Rookie of the Year if he is healthy.
3. QB C.J. Stroud, Texans (+1350)
Stroud had a respectable completion percentage (63.6%) in a loss to the Ravens but finished in the bottom half of the league in air yards per target (6.0) and was sacked the third-most. It was not a surprising debut, but it will not help him much in the race for Rookie of the Year.
4. WR Zay Flowers, Ravens (+1150)
There has been significant buzz surrounding Flowers all offseason, so his contributions in Week 1 came as little surprise. The rookie from Boston College was targeted 10 times in Sunday’s win over the Texans. The rest of the team accounted for 11 total targets. He finished with nine receptions for 78 yards.
5. QB Bryce Young, Panthers (+875)
Young. He barely completed 50% of his passes and had just 163 total yards. He did have a more aggressive game plan than his peers, averaging 7.4 air yards per target, which ranked in the top half of the league.
Other notable performances
Detroit pulled off the upset Thursday night, but running back Jahmyr Gibbs (+950) was hardly involved. He looked impressive in flashes but had just nine touches for 60 yards. If he has many more games like this, he will fall too far behind the race considering how well others are faring.
Los Angeles may not have a lot of names with which the average fan is familiar but it resembled the Rams offense of 2021 more than the Rams of 2022. Rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua (+2050) was a big reason for that success. The fifth-round pick out of BYU was targeted 15 times, registering 119 yards on 10 receptions. Odds of him winning Rookie of the Year have improved, but oddsmakers will probably want to see a few games before his odds shift drastically. Minnesota wide receiver Jordan Addison (+1250) had four receptions for 61 yards and 1 touchdown.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
1. DT Jalen Carter, Eagles (+475)
Carter was one of three edge rushers and the only rookie to record eight pressures in Week 1, according to TruMedia. Aaron Donald was the last defensive tackle to win the award in 2014. Donald finished his rookie season with nine sacks and two forced fumbles. There is a strong possibility that Carter is the best rookie defensive prospect, so if he has the necessary statistics to match, then it will be difficult for anyone to overcome.
2. EDGE Will Anderson Jr. (+425)
Edge rushers with at least nine sacks are historically going to have a great chance to win the award. Anderson had five pressures and a sack Sunday against Baltimore. He is on pace to exceed that sack threshold easily. Anderson should have ample opportunity to win on the edge in Demeco Ryan’s San Francisco-like scheme.
3. CB Christian Gonzalez, Patriots (+1000)
There is a clear top 2 in the Rookie of the Year race with Anderson and Carter. Beyond those two, cases can be constructed for others like Gonzalez. He is the prototypical Bill Belichick cornerback who can be trusted on an island. Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson preceded him in that role. In four seasons with the Patriots, Gilmore accumulated 11 total interceptions. Jackson had 25 interceptions in four seasons with New England. Gonzalez, at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, had his best season last year at Oregon when he picked off four passes.
4. CB Emmanuel Forbes, Commanders (+2000)
Ball production translates from one level to the next. Forbes recorded 14 interceptions at the collegiate level with six being returned for touchdowns. The first-year cornerback out of Mississippi State was great in the opening win over Arizona and nearly recorded his first career interception.
5. DB Brian Branch, Lions (+1700)
Branch falling to the second round came as a surprise because his talent suggests he should have been taken much sooner. Detroit was one of the stories of the week, knocking off the defending Super Bowl champions on the road. Branch has great instincts, as evidenced by an interception returned for a touchdown in that contest.
Other notable performances
Patriots edge rusher Keion White (+2900) had four pressures on a New England defense that should be pretty good this season. He will need to turn some of those pressures into sacks to become a realistic contender for the award. Packers edge rusher Lukas Van Ness (+1450) was responsible for five pressures and one sack in his debut. Giants cornerback Deonte Banks (+3000) will get opportunities to make plays in Wink Martindale’s man coverage-heavy scheme.