Top 5 Offensive Rookie of the Year Candidates
5. Elijah Moore WR Jets
There are certain players who I know are just going to be consistent pieces in the NFL for years to come. While he's not in the best situation (with the Jets), he is going to be a star in this offense. I get "Jarvis Landry vibes" from Elijah Moore if that puts a better picture in your head. A savvy route runner, Moore is going to tear the AFC East up from the slot and come on strong as a rookie. I expect him to be productive out the gates for this Jets offense, but I can see him being overlooked if the Jets underperform once again. There will be times this year where Zach Wilson will look flustered, it is inevitable, he's a rookie quarterback, but Moore will be his safety valve. He will be the most consistent part of the Jets offense in 2021, Moore will catch everything that comes his way. I can't wait to see what he's going to do in Mike LaFleur's offense this year.
4. Trey Lance QB 49ers
If Trey Lance were to start from day one with the 49ers he would be at the top of this list, but since he will most likely sit behind Jimmy Garoppolo to start the year, I have him at number four. Lance is going to be a stud and Kyle Shanahan will have a hard time keeping him on the bench. Once Lance is behind center in San Francisco, there will be fireworks coming from that offense, but if Garoppolo is winning games, he will stay on the field. Lance has already shown improvement in the first two weeks of the preseason. I expect a lot of rookie mistakes from Lance, but there will still be more good than there is bad. The rocket arm attached to his right shoulder and his mobility will take Shanahan's offense to the next level. When it comes to Lance, it's only a matter of time it's not if, it's when. Lance is going to be so much fun to watch this year and will be the face of the NFL one day.
3. Devonta Smith WR Eagles
I just have a gut feeling about Devonta Smith. I can confidently say that he was the best receiver prospect coming out of the draft and he's in the position where he'll be the Eagles number one receiver from day one. He already has a connection with Jalen Hurts and I expect him to be the workhorse receiver in Philadelphia. Despite being underweight, he doesn't get pressed up. A smooth route runner, Smith knows how to gain separation and his hands are reliable. Smith is a perfect fit in the Eagles offense and I expect him to put up monster numbers this year. The Eagles have had a few years of bad luck, but this rookie will be a bright spot for a team that will most likely be picking in the top ten again next year.
2. Najee Harris RB Steelers
Najee Harris is the best rookie running back to enter the NFL since Saquon Barkley and he is going to handle the load for Pittsburgh from day one. It's not often that just one defender can bring Harris down. If we are looking at burst, athleticism, vision, and contact balance, Harris is already at the top of the league in most of those categories. I have drafted Harris in every single one of my fantasy leagues, I am confident he will be a star in Pittsburgh. One thing that Harris will do is make the Steelers offense fun to watch. The Steelers had arguably the worst run game in the NFL last year, but Harris is going to be a breath of fresh air for Matt Canada's offense. I can't wait to see Harris dominate in the black and gold.
1. Justin Fields QB Bears
I expect to see Justin Fields on the field for the Bears a lot sooner than most people think. If Andy Dalton stinks up the field on week one, Sunday Night Football against the Rams, I believe it is Fields' time to shine. Matt Nagy is going to be under so much pressure from the Bears fanbase and owner, that he will have to put the rookie in. Thankfully for Chicago, I expect Fields to dominate from day one. He has balled out the entire preseason and I'm so excited to see him play in the regular season. While it's fair to expect some bumps and bruises for Fields' rookie season, I look forward to seeing the Bears fanbase to come back to life. They have endured a few tough years with Mitchell Trubisky behind center, but now the Bears have their guy. Fields is going to turn this team from a playoff contender to a Super Bowl contender.