With the 2023 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, let’s look at some candidates for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
In selecting these rookies, I considered opportunity and history. Opportunity means most of these players will have a chance to get on the field early and often. Historically, results tell us quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers win Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY). Sorry tight ends and offensive linemen, nothing but love for you, but you aren’t taking home this trophy.
With those simple criteria laid out, let’s dive in and look at one rookie from each division who could stand above his peers in Year 1. Here are eight first-year players with Offensive Rookie of the Year aspirations.
NFC West Offensive Rookie of the Year Contender
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Seattle Seahawks. Round 1, Pick 20
The surprising 9-8 Seahawks brought in a 6-foot-1 Ohio State wideout to their already dangerous receiving core. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is projected as the starting slot receiver as a rookie, granting him rare opportunity in Year 1. An injury last year limited Smith-Njigba to three games, but as a sophomore in 2021, he caught 95 passes for 1,606 yards.
NFC West defensive coordinators can’t be excited about the prospect of this smooth, tough receiver taking advantage of the attention defenses pay to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. If Geno Smith can continue his strong early-season play from last year, Smith-Njigba could light it up in 2023. Another year, another impressive Buckeye pass catcher.