2024 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds: Quarterback or Receiver?

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NFL Pick: 2024 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year – Caleb Williams (+200) at BetOnline

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The 2024 NFL draft was historic for offensive players as the top 14 picks were all on that side of the ball. It would be a real disappointment if someone did not have a stellar rookie season out of that group to win the 2024 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

We could see up to 6 quarterbacks start as rookies from this draft class as they all went in the top 12 picks, though there’s probably something wrong with Kirk Cousins in Atlanta if Michael Penix Jr. is one of those rookie starters.

We also saw 10 wide receivers drafted in the top 37 picks, and that position was deemed the deepest and best in this class.

Let’s take a look at the early odds for Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY) from a top-rated sportsbook like BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review). We make our best bets below.

And don’t forget to check out our betting advice over on our YouTube channel, where our expert makes the case for Caleb Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr.

Which Positions Usually Win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award?

Going back to when the NFL’s common draft era started in 1967, here is the distribution of winners by position for the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award:

  • 35 running backs (including fullbacks)
  • 11 wide receivers
  • 11 quarterbacks

This is just the tip of the iceberg for why people have argued running backs are among the easiest positions to replace in the NFL. You can get instant success out of a player in the right situation with a quality offensive line and a willingness in the offense to run the ball.

That’s why running backs have dominated this award, but the times have changed. Ever since Ben Roethlisberger won in 2004, quarterbacks have won 50% (10 of 20) of the OROY awards.

Houston quarterback C.J. Stroud won last year after an unexpectedly great debut in getting the Texans into the playoffs ahead of schedule. He also showed he could carry a team like a veteran, leading the NFL in passing yards per game (273.9) last year.

Quarterback is the most important position and usually carries more weight in award voting. Even last year, wide receiver Puka Nacua had an all-time great rookie season for the Rams as a 5th-round pick with 105 catches and 1,486 yards, both rookie records.

But Nacua only received 2-of-50 1st-place votes for OROY with Stroud getting the other 48 votes.

No running back has won the award since Saquon Barkley in 2018 for the Giants. Given no running back was drafted until the 2nd round this year when Jonathon Brooks was picked by Carolina, it’s probably a safe bet to fade the running backs in 2024.

Fade the Linemen and Tight Ends

In addition to fading the running backs for 2024, no offensive lineman or tight end has ever won OROY. Joe Alt was the top-rated tackle prospect and went No. 5 to the Chargers, a great landing spot for him. Maybe he’ll get some votes in the new tiered voting system, but Alt or any lineman you can name is not going to win OROY any time soon. It’s a skill player award.

There will be a tight end who wins the award eventually. Detroit tight end Sam LaPorta finished in a distant 3rd with 40 total vote points last year, trailing Stroud (246) and Nacua (154). He had 86 catches, 889 yards, and 10 touchdowns, which is about as good as you can expect from a tough position to excel at in Year 1.

Brock Bowers (+4000 at BetOnline) was the only elite tight end prospect in 2024, but he went to the Raiders, who are not expected to throw the ball a ton. It would be very hard for him to come anywhere close to putting up the numbers necessary to break the glass ceiling for tight ends with this award.

Sorting Out the Quarterbacks

Here are the odds for OROY at BetOnline for the 6 quarterbacks drafted in the top 12 picks this year:

  • Caleb Williams, Bears (+200)
  • Jayden Daniels, Commanders (+550)
  • J.J. McCarthy, Vikings (+1000)
  • Bo Nix, Broncos (+1400)
  • Drake Maye, Patriots (+1600)
  • Michael Penix Jr., Falcons (+4000)

Regardless of position, Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels, the top 2 picks have the best odds of all rookies for this season’s OROY award.

We’ll start by saying we are fading Michael Penix Jr. in Atlanta. They gave Kirk Cousins a 4-year deal worth $180 million. He should be ready to go Week 1 and he usually stays healthy in his career, last year’s Achilles aside. That was a pick for the future, which is why spending the No. 8 pick on a 24-year-old quarterback after you just paid Cousins is so ridiculous. But enough about that one.

To win this award at quarterback, having a winning record as a starter is not necessary as we’ve seen with past winners such as Sam Bradford (2010 Rams), Cam Newton (2011 Panthers), Kyler Murray (2019 Cardinals), and Justin Herbert (2020 Chargers).

The Contenders

But for someone like Drake Maye in New England, the Patriots likely don’t have the other pieces or coaching infrastructure in place for him to thrive in 2024 with good numbers, a good record, or both.

Bo Nix can learn from Sean Payton, but who exactly is he throwing to the outside of Courtland Sutton? The team traded Jerry Jeudy to Cleveland. They did draft Troy Franklin in the early 4th round, and he was a receiver of Nix’s at Oregon. But relying on a 4th-round rookie receiver is a tough business, and the Broncos are still trying to get on track offensively for what feels like a decade now.

J.J. McCarthy in Minnesota has real dark horse value and appeal at +1000 odds. We know Kevin O’Connell loves to throw the ball, and he’s going to have one of the better-receiving trios in Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and tight end T.J. Hockenson. But is he guaranteed to start in Week 1? The team also has veteran Sam Darnold. Sitting for a couple of weeks could hurt, but we’ll see what O’Connell can get out of him after McCarthy did not throw a ton in Michigan.

Daniels has the dual-threat ability for Washington, so that could help him out as it did Cam Newton in 2011 and Robert Griffin III in 2012. New offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury was the head coach for Kyler Murray in 2019 when he won OROY, though that was a pretty weak class for the offense. Putting up Kyler-like numbers for Daniels combined with a non-winning record is probably not going to be enough for Daniels to win. There’s also fear that his Heisman season was a big outlier from his overall body of work in college, so he’s not a quarterback to feel overly confident in here.

The Favorite

That leaves No. 1 pick Caleb Williams (+200), the favorite for the award. He is walking into what might be the best situation for any No. 1 pick at quarterback in NFL history. He basically has 3 receivers with No. 1 qualities to them in D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen, and they drafted Rome Odunze (+2500) with the No. 9 pick.

The nice thing about the Odunze pick is that since he could only be WR3 on the depth chart this year, he shouldn’t eat into Williams’ OROY odds. He can only help him by giving him a 3rd great weapon at that position in addition to having Cole Kmet at tight end, who had a breakout year in 2023.

Any Wide Receivers Worth a Bet?

Here are the odds for OROY at BetOnline for the top 6 wide receivers this year:

  • Marvin Harrison Jr., Cardinals (+800)
  • Keon Coleman, Bills (+1200)
  • Malik Nabers, Giants (+1400)
  • Xavier Worthy, Chiefs (+1800)
  • Rome Odunze, Bears (+2500)
  • Brian Thomas Jr., Jaguars (+3300)

For a sign of how unpredictable the NFL can be, last year’s draft featured 4 wide receiver prospects who all went in picks 20-23. Yet the wideout who had the best season and came the closest to winning OROY was the 5th-round pick (Puka Nacua) who went to a team that already had Cooper Kupp. Go figure.

But last year’s draft had 1st-round receivers going to teams where they clearly weren’t going to be the No. 1 target in 2023 like Jordan Addison (Vikings) and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Seahawks). You need that role to win an award like this the way Garrett Wilson (2022 Jets) and Ja’Marr Chase (2021 Bengals) did recently.

The Top Wide Receiver Prospects

For this year’s top 6 wideouts by the odds, Rome Odunze is the one we mentioned above in Chicago who is going into a No. 3 wideout role most likely with D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen ahead of him. Also, it would be really hard for Odunze to have an OROY-type year without his quarterback (Caleb Williams) getting the award instead for having presumably big numbers. It’s not like they are going to funnel the passing game through Odunze this season. So, he’s out for our picks.

Brian Thomas Jr. was the No. 4 wide receiver in this draft according to most experts. He went to the Jaguars where Calvin Ridley’s production needs replaced. But it’s hard to trust Trevor Lawrence to get over 1,000 yards and decent touchdown numbers out of a rookie when he often has eyes for Christian Kirk, and they also signed a similar player in Gabe Davis from Buffalo.

Xavier Worthy is the record-breaking speedster who ran a 4.21 second 40 at the combine. Letting him go to the Chiefs could be disastrous for the rest of the league, but I’d hold my horses betting on him to be the next DeSean Jackson or Tyreek Hill in the NFL. The Chiefs still have Travis Kelce as Patrick Mahomes’ most trusted target, they signed Marquise Brown in free agency, and Rashee Rice hasn’t been suspended yet for his car crash incident. Worthy might be a good one, but the Chiefs are likely not going to feature him as their new WR1 this year.

Fading Nabers and Coleman

Malik Nabers can be the best wide receiver the Giants have had since Odell Beckham Jr., who was the OROY in 2014. But can an offense with Daniel Jones at quarterback even produce great numbers in a receiver, let alone a rookie? Some will point to what Stefon Diggs did in Brian Daboll’s offense in Buffalo in 2020, but that was Josh Allen’s breakout year in his 3rd season (Jones is in his 6th), and that was also a pandemic year with the defenses playing historically bad. We’ll fade this passing offense for another year until it proves something.

New Buffalo wideout Keon Coleman is an interesting choice to have the 5th-highest odds (+1200 at BetOnline) of any player for OROY. The Bills certainly need the production with Stefon Diggs and Gabe Daivs gone, but the passing game was not putting up big numbers after making Joe Brady the offensive coordinator during the season last year. Coleman also has to show he can run faster than he tested at the combine, and this offense did get Curtis Samuel for the slot and Allen still has Dalton Kincaid and Khalil Shakir to throw to. Maybe someone like Brian Thomas Jr. would have been a good pick here for OROY, but he ended up in Jacksonville instead of Buffalo.

The Favorite

That leaves Marvin Harrison Jr. with easily the best situation of any wide receiver here. He has a quarterback in Kyler Murray, who may not be great, but he can get someone the ball repeatedly for a team that figures to trail a fair amount and will throw the ball a lot. The Cardinals also lost Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore, so Harrison Jr. is only competing with Michael Wilson and Greg Dortch for wide receiver targets. In fact, his biggest threat for taking away stats is tight end Trey McBride, who broke out in 2022.

Best Bets

We know we want our picks to be at quarterback and wide receiver, and we know quarterbacks have the edge over their pass catchers for awards.

You hate to go with chalk, but chalk would have been right in 2019 when No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray (+150) won OROY, when top running back Saquon Barkley (+155) won it in 2018, and even in 2021 you could say Ja’Marr Chase having the best wide receiver situation (reunited with Joe Burrow in Cincinnati) was chalky as the 1st wide receiver taken in the draft.

Sometimes chalk just wins, which is why our “top pick” is for Caleb Williams to win it for the Bears. The team is looking to improve on last year’s 7-10 record, he has a deep collection of skill players that should have complementary skills, and he’s hoping to be a playmaker and exciting young quarterback in the vein of Patrick Mahomes if all things go well. Look forward to seeing him try to pump some life into a Chicago passing offense that is rarely worth watching.

Likewise, it is too hard to pass up on the value of Marvin Harrison Jr. at +800 in what should be a clear WR1 situation for him with a veteran quarterback in Arizona. We know his father’s genes were great, and his son seems to have his great hands and consistency on the field. He’s a bigger version of him at 6’3”. That’s our top pick for the wide receiver class.

NFL Pick: 2024 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year – Caleb Williams (+200) at BetOnline

NFL Pick: 2024 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year – Marvin Harrison Jr. (+800) at BetOnline

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Best Value

Finally, our best value pick is a quarterback who saw 4 other passers go ahead of him on draft night, including a shocking pick by the Falcons. But we wanted to point out that many cases of great rookie quarterback seasons were not expected before the season and could only be understood in hindsight.

For example, few would have imagined C.J. Stroud would be so good right away for Houston last year, but we probably discounted the addition of a Kyle Shanahan disciple as offensive coordinator in Bobby Slowik. Throw in an emerging wideout in Nico Collins and a good draft pick in Tank Dell, and it starts to make more sense. Still, this one was harder to predict than most.

Rookie Quarterback Success

Another sign to look for in a quarterback hitting right away is doing it for a team that usually has solid seasons, but it was coming off a rough year that served as an outlier:

  • No one expected much from the Steelers in 2004 after a 6-10 season landed Ben Roethlisberger, but that team was used to winning under Bill Cowher, they still had Jerome Bettis in the backfield, and a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress.
  • Matt Ryan had a tough task in 2008 after the Falcons went 3-13, but Michael Vick went to prison and Bobby Petrino sunk that team, which was usually around .500. Throw in Roddy White’s 2007 breakout year, an addition of Michael Turner to the backfield, and the hiring of coach Mike Smith, and Ryan walked into a better situation than expected.
  • The Cowboys finished 4-12 in 2015 because Tony Romo was injured and they started 4 quarterbacks, so Dak Prescott was a stabilizing factor (along with Ezekiel Elliott) in 2016 to a team that was usually .500 or better from 2005-14.

Potential Rookie Standouts

Who is walking into a solid offensive coaching situation with talent around them for a team that maybe underperformed in 2023? That could be J.J. McCarthy in Minnesota. In Kevin O’Connell’s last 2 seasons with a healthy quarterback, he won the Super Bowl as the coordinator of the 2021 Rams with Matthew Stafford, and he went 13-4 with Kirk Cousins leading 8 4th-quarter comebacks in 2022.

Last year, the Vikings were 6-4 and hanging tough despite losing Cousins and having other big injuries to Jefferson and key starters. O’Connell had to start 4 quarterbacks in multiple games. Maybe McCarthy can be his Dak Prescott, a stabilizing force, and manage to throw the ball efficiently to a very talented receiving trio. They also added Aaron Jones to the backfield, an improvement over Alexander Mattison.

Throw in 2 games against the Bears where McCarthy could possibly outplay favorite Caleb Williams, and we’ll ride with this pick too.

NFL Pick: 2024 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year – J.J. McCarthy (+1000) at BetOnline

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.