2024 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds Post-NFL Draft: Caleb Williams Leads Pack

, ,
Written By Brett Gibbons | Last Updated

With the dust settled on what many would consider a surprising NFL Draft, sportsbooks posted openers for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year odds. Surprising to few, Bears QB Caleb Williams – the first overall pick – is the early favorite (+250). Cardinals WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (+600) and Commanders QB Jayden Daniels (+900) follow suit. While surely deserving to be the favorite, is Williams really the best bet on the board? What does history say about the OROY award and what position wins it?

Scroll to the bottom of the article for complete NFL OROY odds.

NFL OROY Winners and Trends

Unlike the MVP odds or Heisman Trophy odds, OROY is a far less QB-saturated market. Since 2000, 10 QBs won the award, still the most among any position. But nine running backs also took home the hardware. Just four receivers won, although the importance of receivers and the decline of premium draft capital in the running back position suggests we’ll see more receivers than running backs in the future. Texans QB CJ Stroud made it a run of three quarterbacks in five years to win the award, a true dynasty in the awards market.

You have to go back to 2011 to find a first-overall draft pick who won the OROY award (Cam Newton). Ten offensive players and nine quarterbacks have been the No. 1 NFL draft selection in that time. The year prior, Sam Bradford was both the first overall pick and OROY. But that’s the only other instance of a first-overall pick winning the award since 2000.

In years when a defensive player went 1.01, we looked to the first offensive player taken. Not since 2000 has that first offensive player won the award.

But this market isn’t designed for offensive linemen – an OL hasn’t ever won the award since its inception in 1967. Matt Ryan (2008) was the first skill player taken and did, in fact, win OROY that year. In the other instances in which an OL was the first offensive player taken (2013, 2022), the first skill player did not win OROY.

Historical trends of the OROY award suggest Caleb Williams isn’t the best bet on the board.

Are Any Non-First Round Players Worth A Bet?

Every winner of the award since 2018 has been drafted in the first round. Alvin Kamara was the last exception (2017, third round); although, a run of Kamara, Dak Prescott (2016), and Eddie Lacy (2013) made it three non-first-rounders in five years to win.

While an exciting prospect due to longer odds, betting players taken outside the first two rounds is likely a fool’s errand. Since 2000, just Kamara, Prescott, and Mike Anderson (2000) were taken beyond the first two rounds, with Anderson a true sixth-round unicorn.

NFL Rookie Odds: A Changing Market

Looking at the entire history of the OROY suggests an RB-dominated award. Thirty-two RBs have won (plus a fullback!), accounting for over 56% of all OROYs awarded. Kamara and Saquon Barkley took home the hardware in back-to-back seasons (2017-18), the last two to do so.

Two major changes to the NFL are shifting the landscape of the OROY award:

  • Increased value in WRs and decreased value in RBs
  • Rookie QBs starting day one

Increased Value in WRs

In the complete history of the award, 11 wide receivers won (just over 19%). As mentioned, even since 2000, just four won it. But the increase in value of the WR position over the last three to five seasons will dramatically change that frequency, even if there haven’t been enough years to prove that yet.

Marvin Harrison Jr. (+600) comes to mind first when considering receivers. Last year, the first under OC Drew Petzing, the Cardinals attempted passes on 55.9% of offensive plays, just 23rd in the NFL. Even when Kyler Murray returned from injury, the pass attempts remained low. Perhaps that’s a result of one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL or even a precaution to keep Murray healthy, but the volume may remain elusive in 2024. However, Harrison Jr. presents by far the most talent in the receiving game and likely soaks up a large portion of the targets this year.

Giants WR Malik Nabers (+1400) lands second among non-QBs. However, he suffers from a worse situation than Harrison Jr. Daniel Jones ranked 37th among 41 qualifying QBs in PFF’s pass grade last season before going down to injury, posting a paltry 5.7 yards per attempt (40th) and throwing six interceptions to just two touchdowns in a little under six games.

Bears WR Rome Odunze (+2500) lands in a good situation – drafted alongside Williams – but must compete for targets alongside DJ Moore and Keenan Allen.

Xavier Worthy (+1600) perhaps finds himself in the best situation among the first-round receivers as both a viable WR target and playing with a great QB (Patrick Mahomes) in an effective system.

Rookie QBs Starting Day 1

Amazingly, just one quarterback won OROY from the award’s inception (1967) through 2003 (Bills QB Dennis Shaw, 1970). Thrusting draft-pick QBs into the starting role during their rookie season is a relatively new phenomenon in the NFL, really starting to pick up steam in the mid-2000s. Now, it’s more common than not for first-round QBs to begin as immediate starters, increasing the frequency of QB OROYs.

With six first-round QBs to choose from, there’s plenty to go over. Of those six, three are almost certainly day-one starters (Williams, Daniels, Drake Maye), two more will compete but are favorites in the room (JJ McCarthy, Bo Nix), and one will likely sit (Michael Penix Jr.).

Daniels and Drake Maye (+2000) enter changing situations. Daniels has far better weapons around him and takes over a Commanders organization now focused on rebranding from the nightmare years of Dan Snyder. The Patriots turn over in the coaching ranks for the first time in nearly a quarter century. The offensive weapons are among the worst in the NFL, though there was a concerted effort to improve that this offseason.

Bo Nix (+2800) joins a Broncos roster with interesting pass-catching weapons. However, plenty of questions surround the modern viability of coach Sean Payton. Last year, Russell Wilson failed not only to thrive, but even marginally succeed in Denver.

That leaves J.J. McCarthy (+1100) in Minnesota. He plays with one of the top weapons in the league, Justin Jefferson, and with an offensive-minded coach. Kirk Cousins pieced together multiple exciting seasons with the Vikings. McCarthy, should he win the job, could do the same.

NFL OROY Odds: Round 2 Fliers

Chargers receiver Ladd McConkey (+4000) immediately becomes one of the more interesting targets on the roster. He’ll compete with Joshua Palmer and Quentin Johnston but fits a different archetype that demands different targets. Now entering the Jim Harbaugh system, the Bolts are likely to be a run-focused team, investing their first-round pick on tackle Joe Alt. But working with QB Justin Herbert makes McConkey an interesting consideration.

Keon Coleman (+5000) is perhaps the most interesting longshot flier for OROY, landing with the Bills in Round 2. He becomes the most viable mid- to deep-shot target for Josh Allen. Curtis Samuel works as a gadget receiver and Khalil Shakir produced mixed results in his first two seasons. Coleman not only lands in a favorable situation and presents the Bills with a new target type, he also flashes highlight-reel catch potential – not to be overlooked in a voter-based market.

Rookies To Eliminate From Consideration

At the risk of producing Freezing Cold Takes, let’s take a look at some players who don’t fit the profiles outlined in this article:

  • Jets TE Brock Bowers (+4000): No TE has ever won the OROY award.
  • Dolphins RB Jaylen Wright (+5000): An exciting fit, but just two players since 2000 won after being drafted later than Round 3. Wright went in Round 4. He also must compete for touches with DeVon Achane and Raheem Mostert.
  • Falcons QB Michael Penix Jr. (+6000): Barring injury to Cousins, he won’t start this year. The Falcons outwardly expressed patience for up to five years.
  • Bengals WR Jermaine Burton (+6000): We have yet to see a WR beyond Round 2 win the award. Talented though Burton is, his system doesn’t scream trend-breaker.

Best of luck betting NFL rookie odds this offseason!

2024 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Compare NFL rookie odds from the best NFL betting sites below. Click anywhere to place a bet.