NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year VotingWhile we are still a few weeks away from the NFL unveiling its official award winners for the 2021 season, we here at The Draft Network feel like there’s no need to wait. The regular season has concluded and the final resumes for players and coaches have been submitted. Let’s pick some winners! The TDN staff put together their ballots for MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, and Coach of the Year. The Offensive Player of the Year award was intentionally omitted to make the MVP race a little more interesting. More than a dozen TDN scouts and writers submitted their ballots listing the top five players/coaches for each category. First-place votes received five points, second-place votes received four points, and so on and so forth. Tie-breakers were decided in the following order: Number of first-place votes, number of ballot appearances, number of second-place votes. Let’s get to it! Below, you will see the list of every player who received at least one vote from a TDN staff member. Here is how the voting shook out for Offensive Rookie of the Year, starting with our winner.
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
2021 NFL OROY: Ja'Marr ChaseKey Stats: 81 receptions, 1,455 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns, 128 targets Why Ja'Marr Chase Deserved To Be OROY Jack McKessy: Once upon a time, there was concern that Ja’Marr Chase had a problem catching NFL footballs. Well, now he’s set the record for single-game receiving yards for a rookie and he passed Justin Jefferson for the Super Bowl era rookie record in receiving yards. Not to mention, Chase also set Bengals franchise records in single-game receiving yards, single-season receiving yards, and tied Tyler Eifert for second place in single-season touchdown catches by a Bengal. Though his white-hot start cooled around the mid-season mark, a late surge—including his massive 266-yard game against the Chiefs—plus some subpar performances from Mac Jones were enough to push Chase in the lead here. He did a phenomenal job getting over his preseason struggles, and the season he had was more than enough to secure him this year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Justin Melo: It's Ja'Marr Chase. Chase's latest accomplishment may be his grandest in an amazing debut season that's been littered with stunning achievements. Chase helped his Bengals capture the AFC North division title for the first time since 2015 by putting forth a record-breaking performance against the Chiefs that saw Chase set the single-game record for receiving yards (266) in a contest by a rookie pass-catcher. The former LSU standout has absolutely taken the league by storm while terrorizing opposing secondaries on what feels like a weekly basis. Chase has more than lived up to his draft billing by shattering any realistic expectations the Bengals held for him in year one. He’s quickly established himself as an elite receiver in the NFL and it would be a great example of injustice if he fails to take home this award at this point. Lucio Vainesman: Ja'Marr Chase set the single-season rookie receiving record, the single-game rookie receiving record, and the Bengals' single-season receiving mark this season. Chase has been Joe Burrow’s favorite target, leading the Bengals to their first AFC North crown since 2015. Chase has not only been the most exciting rookie of the bunch, but he has also been the most pivotal to his team’s success. The Bengals went from a four-win team to an AFC contender in large part to the play of the rookie wide receiver. Dissenting Opinion(s) Crissy Froyd (Mac Jones): We live in a world of instant gratification and that extends to the irrational idea that rookie quarterbacks should be able to come into the NFL and turn even the worst of teams around. The Patriots never qualified as the “worst of teams,” but they had a sizable void to fill when the team and quarterback Tom Brady went their separate ways. But it’s been a match made in heaven for rookie quarterback Mac Jones, a talented pure pocket passer with both a high ceiling and a high floor. Jones has one of the highest degrees of mental processing in recent quarterback classes, has a high level of accuracy, and expands a playbook with his football IQ as opposed to the (also irrational) idea that a passer of his type with limited mobility narrows a playbook. Expect Jones to only expand upon his success down the line in a landing spot that couldn’t be more perfect.
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