Football

4 smart bets for 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

This year, the NFL has an enticing class of offensive rookies. Below we take a look at four of the best.

4. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Jefferson is replacing Stefon Diggs in the Vikings’ system, which means plenty of targets for the rookie. Few receivers have every enjoyed a season as Jefferson did with the national champion LSU Tigers in 2019, going for 1,540 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns on 111 receptions.

While Adam Thielen is likely to get the main bulk of targets, it stands to reason Jefferson is going to see plenty as well. Additionally, with Thielen drawing doubles and the top cornerback assignments, the youngster should benefit.

3. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Taylor has to be considered after a tremendous career with the Wisconsin Badgers. While in the Big Ten, Taylor had two 2,000-yard campaigns, cementing himself as one of the great running backs in Wisconsin history alongside Ron Dayne and Melvin Gordon.

 

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In Indianapolis, Taylor will run behind one of the best offensive lines in football. With Philip Rivers at the helm under center, opponents still need to respect the passing game. Receiver T.Y. Hilton should also force plenty of two-deep looks, allowing Taylor space to run wild against the AFC South and beyond this season.

2. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

The man known as CEH is going to be a major, major problem for NFL defenses in 2020. Consider how many weapons the Chiefs have, and where Edwards-Helaire is going to rank on their minds. Receivers Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins all have game-breaking speed, with Hill and Hardman both running in the 4.2 range. Then there’s tight end Travis Kelce, arguably the league’s best at his position.

Oh, and a guy named Patrick Mahomes is throwing the ball.

 

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Edwards-Helaire was dominant last season at LSU because he’s a threat both rushing and receiving. With the Tigers in 2019, he amassed 1,414 rushing yards on 6.6 yards per carry and 16 touchdowns. However, he also caught 55 passes for 453 yards and a score. Good luck.

1. Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

This should obvious. Look, Burrow was taken with the No. 1 overall pick and joins a team with a seven-time For Bowler in receiver A.J. Green, and another receiver with consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns in Tyler Boyd. Additionally, Burrow gets second-round receiver Tee Higgins and an offensive-minded coach in Zac Taylor.

Burrow threw 60 touchdowns for LSU last year — yes, he’s the third Tiger on our short list — and did so in a pro-style system. He’s going to come in and tear it up for the Bengals, who should score plenty even in defeat.

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