The 2022 NFL season is coming to a close, which means it’s time to start looking at the Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates. Since 2010, five quarterbacks have won the award, but that probably won’t happen in 2022. Kenny Pickett is the only rookie quarterback to see significant snaps, and he’s only started seven games. The rookie has not played like a superstar, thanks in large part to the offensive line, poor playcalling, and an injured Najee Harris. So, if a quarterback won’t win the award, then who will?
Ranking the 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year Candidates
The Wide Receivers
1. Chris Olave
Chris Olave was the third of six wide receivers selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but he has easily been the best of the bunch so far. To date, the rookie has made seven starts, playing in 461 snaps while hauling in 56 of his 92 targets for 822 yards and three touchdowns. 268 of those yards have come against NFC South opponents, and Olave still have three more matchups against his divisional foes. The rookie did fumble in the second game of his career, but since that point, he’s been one of the most reliable receivers in the league. All in all, Olave has been phenomenal, which is an impressive feat considering his subpar surroundings.
Chris Olave TORCHED Jalen Ramsey for the TD 👀🔥 pic.twitter.com/Vfs2f5qn5m
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) November 20, 2022
2. Garrett Wilson
While not as dominant as his college teammate, New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson has also made an immediate home in the NFL. Selected one pick before Olave, Wilson has played in 496 snaps and recorded 49 receptions on 79 targets from three different starting quarterbacks. Even though he’s only made six starts, Wilson has scored four touchdowns and the Jets are even using him in the running game. If the Jets offense has more stability in 2023, Wilson will develop into one of the best receivers in the league.
3. Drake London
The Falcons selected London with the eighth-overall pick in the NFL Draft with the expectation that he would come in and form a formidable duo with tight end Kyle Pitts. That hasn’t quite gone according to plan, as Pitts has battled injury and London has recorded just 41 receptions through 10 games. Arthur Smith’s team has run the ball early and often, which has had an impact on London’s total stats, but he has still found a way to record four touchdowns and a two-point conversion while averaging 10.7 yards per receptions. London should see more opportunities, especially with Pitts done for the season.
The Running Backs
Honorable Mention: Breece Hall
Breece Hall would have surely factored into Offensive Rookie of the Year voting had he stayed healthy for the entire season. Hall only made two starts for the Jets but still scored four rushing touchdowns and added another score through the air. He played 233 snaps across seven games, gaining 463 rushing yards at an impressive 5.8 yards per carry. He was more than just a one-trick pony, as he also recorded 218 receiving yards during his abbreviated rookie season. Were it not for his season-ending knee injury, Hall was on pace to finish the season with 1,400 yards, 528 receiving yards, and 12 touchdowns.
1. Kenneth Walker
Pete Carrol has been coaching in the NFL since 1984 so it takes something special to get him “surprised and excited”, but that’s what he said about Kenneth Walker III in August. Walker was drafted with the 41st pick and expected to provide depth behind Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. Carson had to unfortunately had to retire in July and Penny suffered an injury in October elevating Walker to a starter. Since his promotion he has accumulated 613 rushing yards at an average of 4.5 yards per carry and scored nine rushing touchdowns. Walker is also a receiving threat, he’s caught 19 of his 25 targets for 116 yards.
Don't stop till you get in @Kenneth_Walker9! 👣 pic.twitter.com/4GQ11j9tyx
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) November 27, 2022
2. Dameon Pierce
Dameon Pierce is one of those rare creatures, a rookie running back who has started every game in 2022. He has carried just 180 times though as the Texans offense has struggled this season. Houston are ranked last in the league with just 3,069 yards. Pierce has also caught 27 passes for 143 yards and without his contribution to the passing game they would be ranked 30th. Pierce has scored 24% of the Texans touchdowns this season so he’s arguably the most important player in Houston. The Texans have been so poor in their last two games that Pierce has only rushed 15 times for 16 yards.