In the preseason, there was a lot of discussion surrounding Cincinnati Bengals rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and his drops. However, those concerns are out the window through the first seven games of the regular season.
Heading into Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, Chase led all rookie receivers with 553 yards and five touchdowns. He was also tied for second in receptions (27) with Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeVonta Smith and ranked third in targets (41). However, the former LSU standout has added to his historic pace in Week 7.
According to Bill Barnwell, Chase has more receiving yards through his first seven games than any player in NFL history. The rookie wideout finished with eight receptions (nine targets) for a career-high 201 yards and a touchdown.
With this latest performance, Chase has clearly made a strong case on why he should be the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, there are still a few players, who can make a case on why they should possibly win the award. Below we’ll breakdown the competition for the ROY at the various position.
When you look at this year’s rookie class at quarterback, Mac Jones has been playing the best at the moment. Heading into Sunday, Jones has the best completion percentage at 71.1, to go along with 1,472 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. His six INTs are second behind Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (8). Against the Jets on Sunday, the former Alabama quarterback added to his stat line, completing 24-of-36 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns.
The running back spot isn’t as crowded with contenders for OROY. The top option right now is Najee Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Harris was drafted in the first round by Pittsburgh and has been utilize as an integral part of the offense. He currently leads all rookie running backs in receiving yards (244), receptions (34), targets (46) and touchdowns (2). Harris also leads all rookie running backs with 388 yards and tied for first with two touchdowns on the ground.
Along with Chase, we’ve seen Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith make some plays for their respective teams through six games. Waddle came into Week 7 with the most receptions (37) and targets (49) among all rookie wide receivers. He was also ranked second behind Chase in touchdown receptions with three. Waddle, who was drafted in the first round has become one of the top options for the Dolphins’ offense. As for Smith, he’s tied for second with Chase in receptions (27) and ranked second in receiving yards (345).
The only notable rookie tight end to discuss is Kyle Pitts of the Atlanta Falcons. After a slow start to the regular season, Pitts has established himself as one of Matt Ryan’s top offensive weapons. On Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, the former Florida Gators tight end had seven receptions (eight targets) for a game-high 163 yards. It’s the second straight game that Pitts had 100 receiving yards or more.