Of the non-quarterback rookies in the NFL, Kyle Pitts has the best odds to win the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, according to FanDuel. Pitts has +1100 odds to win the award behind only quarterbacks — Mac Jones at +1000 odds, Trey Lance at +750 odds, Zach Wilson at +700 odds, Justin Fields at +500 odds, and Trevor Lawrence as the favorite at +270 odds.
Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith, and Ja’Marr Chase follow Pitts as non-quarterback candidates, but a tight end hasn’t won the award since Mike Ditka won it in 1961. Since 2000, nine quarterbacks and running backs have been named rookie of the year, while only three wide receivers have won in that same time period, even though the league has clearly shifted to a pass-heavy style.
Even before he was taken fourth overall, many draft experts proclaimed that Pitts was the best non-quarterback this year. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora has already pegged the former Florida Gator to win Offensive Rookie of the Year in his predictions for the 2021 season.
This guy is a machine. Impervious to defenders and scheme and pain and anything else. Matt Ryan lives to throw to his tight ends and they will be trailing in a ton of games because they are always trailing in a ton of their games. They have no defense, which will allow this amazing young talent to rack up yards and scores against soft defenses playing with a lead. And he doesn’t need that, because he is going to be an unstoppable force no matter what. But having those advantages baked into the cake as a rookie can’t possibly hurt.
Without Julio Jones on the roster, the target share for Pitts increases, which helps his case for the award. Pitts could break several rookie records depending on how frequently Arthur Smith deploys Pitts as the team’s no. 1 option week-to-week. I fully expect Pitts to challenge the group of quarterbacks for the most impressive offensive rookie in 2021, but I believe Najee Harris is criminally undervalued in FanDuel’s odds; he’d be one of my picks for the best value.
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