Analyzing the leading candidates for OROY after Week 5

Ja'Marr Chase
Ja'Marr Chase is one of the Rookie of the Year favorites. Photo from NY Post.

It’s a competitive field for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2021. Just a few weeks into the new season, the race has already meandered with several rookies making an early impact on their franchises.

According to sportsbettingdime.com, most sportsbooks have Mac Jones back as their favorite to win NFL OROY. The Patriots’ rookie signal-caller nearly spoiled Tom Brady’s return to Foxborough in Week 4, keeping up with Brady every step of the way. Trey Lance’s odds have also improved, but just slightly, after he took over for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 4. Lance got the start in Week 5 and potentially beyond and if you are into betting, this list on Sports Betting Dime is offering a plethora of betting promos for you to take advantage of when betting for your favorite OROY candidate.

Number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence is yet to assert himself in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race as the Jaguars sit 0-5. Lance, Justin Fields, Lawrence and Zach Wilson were massively hyped heading into the draft, but they are chasing Jones in the OROY odds with five weeks completed in the 2021 NFL season.

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year 2021 candidates

There’s a long way to go. The OROY race has twists and turns aplenty to come. Following Week 5, though, here are a few of the most intriguing NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year 2021 candidates.

Mac Jones

New England has a 2-3 record on the season. Mac Jones has endured a mixed start to his career in professional football, posting just five touchdowns with five interceptions. There have been flashes of the QB which the Patriots hope can take them back to the top, but Jones hasn’t done enough to really take control of the OROY race.

No one expected the spectacular from Jones. He has lived up to that billing as a quick read passer, dissecting rather than destroying defenses.

While that might be enough to compete for this award, he remains at risk of being succeeded by his flashier peers.

Ja’Marr Chase

Bookies like Ja’Marr Chase as an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year 2021 candidate. Chase put up another big game in Week 5 with some sportsbooks placing him above Mac Jones in the latest odds.


Where some rookies take time to adjust, Chase has enjoyed the benefit of playing with former LSU teammate Joe Burrow. Cincinnati is a lot of fun to watch on offense as a result.

Only Mike Williams has more receiving touchdowns in 2021 than Chase. He’s also seventh in receiving yards on the season. The Bengals starlet is well placed to become the first wide receiver to win the award since Odell Beckham Jr.

Najee Harris

With Ben Roethlisberger looking incredibly ineffective as a passer, Najee Harris is in for a big year with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh is going to lean on Harris heavily throughout this season, and with good reason.

Harris is at just 3.9 yards per rush so far with a couple of touchdowns. He’s already racked up 39 targets as a receiver too, though, and that’s the blueprint which could make him into an Offensive Rookie of the Year contender in 2021.

Pittsburgh’s offense needs all the help it can get. Harris’ young legs may have to carry a heavy burden.

Justin Fields

Justin Fields is the Bears’ starting quarterback, and he’s well-deserving of the responsibility. While it was a matter of time until Fields took over from Andy Dalton, the rookie hasn’t exactly got off to a hot start in the NFL.

He’s completed just over 51% of his passes for 458 yards on 72 attempts. The level of comfort required to flourish in the NFL is not yet there.

The upside is there for Fields to win Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2021, but he’s an outsider after Week 5.

Trevor Lawrence

Jacksonville is going to need to finally win a game if Trevor Lawrence is to become Offensive Rookie of the Year this season. It’s been an ugly start for the 22-year-old with more interceptions than touchdowns through his first five NFL games.

The Jags are in a state of dysfunction. Play calls have been widely criticized. Lawrence’s life hasn’t been made easy.

Still, though, it’s hard to take the first overall pick seriously as an award contender unless he turns this round quickly. How he fares against Miami and Seattle in the next two games will have a major impact on the OROY race.

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About Sam Cox 703 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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