Three QBs Are the Clear Favorites in the 2024 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Race

Chicago’s Caleb Williams, Washington’s Jayden Daniels and New England’s Drake Maye are at the head of this year's draft class.
For Maye to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, he will have to elevate the surrounding talent.
For Maye to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, he will have to elevate the surrounding talent. / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Since the 2000 NFL season, there have been 24 NFL Offensive Rookies of the Year.

Of those 24, the positional breakdown is 10 quarterbacks, five receivers and nine running backs. Furthermore, only five of those players, regardless of position, have been drafted outside of the first round.

The outliers? Alvin Kamara (2017), Dak Prescott (’16), Eddie Lacy (’12), Anthony Thomas (’01) and Mike Anderson (’00). If you’re going to bet on a long shot from Days 2 and 3 of the NFL draft, make it a running back.

However, that could be tough this year. The first back off the board was Jonathon Brooks to the Carolina Panthers, who may be throwing nonstop in an effort to come back from deficits. 

But for this piece, we’re going most-likely, which means first-rounders. 

5. Drake Maye, QB, New England Patriots

In two years as a starter with the North Carolina Tar Heels, Maye threw for 62 touchdowns and 16 interceptions despite being without elite talent.

For Maye to win this award, he’s going to have to elevate the surrounding talent once more. New England loaded up on rookie receivers with Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker, who will play alongside veterans Kendrick Bourne and K.J. Osborn on the perimeter. 

Perhaps Maye’s best argument as a favorite here is should he play great, it will almost certainly be because he was fantastic, and not because he was carried by a superior supporting cast.

4. Xavier Worthy, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Worthy is a smart pick for a few reasons. For starters, he’s a receiver for Patrick Mahomes. And, with Rashee Rice looking at a potential suspension, Worthy could be forced into a large role quickly.

After three years of production at Texas, Worthy is going to be used as a leading wideout and a returner for Kansas City. His dual roles could be another avenue to stardom, much in the way Tyreek Hill was utilized as a rookie in 2016 under coach Andy Reid.

Ultimately, Worthy will impact the offense and special teams, constantly play in primetime for the two-time Super Bowl champs, be deployed by Reid and targeted by Mahomes. That’s a recipe for instant stardom.

3. Jayden Daniels, QB, Washington Commanders

Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels
Daniels will have Terry McLaurin on the outside along with third-year pro Jahan Dotson for his prime targets. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Daniels has to be considered toward the top. The Commanders aren’t a team loaded with talent, but they do have Terry McLaurin on the outside along with third-year pro Jahan Dotson.

Additionally, Daniels brings the ability to run unlike any other quarterback in this draft class. At LSU, he ran for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns during his Heisman Trophy-winning season of 2023. He’s a constant threat to use his legs, giving Washington’s offense another dimension.

The big question for Daniels is whether he’ll have enough support outside of McLaurin, the only established offensive star for the Commanders.

2. Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Arizona Cardinals

After being utterly dominant over his final two years with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Harrison Jr. went No. 4 to the Cardinals in April’s draft.

Harrison is set up for immediate success. He’s clearly the top receiver on the team after the departure of Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, and he has a legitimate quarterback in Kyler Murray. In short, the targets will be there, and so will the football.

Finally, Arizona might be fighting uphill in many games this year, meaning Harrison could also pad his stats with some late-game yardage and touchdowns. It’s a good recipe for a big campaign.

1. Caleb Williams, QB, Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Williams
Williams has a trio of exciting receivers in Allen, Moore and Odunze.  / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

This is no surprise, but what might be surprising is not seeing No. 9 pick Rome Odunze on the list. 

But if Odunze has a huge year, that probably means Williams did as well. And considering both the positional value and justified hype over Williams, the quarterback is going to win that voting battle unless Odunze does something historic.

Williams is also set up for success. Chicago has a quality offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron, and a trio of exciting receivers in Keenan Allen, DJ Moore and Odunze. 

While it will be fun seeing how this award race plays out, Williams is the clear favorite.


Published |Modified
Matt Verderame

MATT VERDERAME

Matt Verderame is an NFL staff writer for Sports Illustrated. He hosts The Matt Verderame Show on Patreon; previously wrote for FanSided and Awful Announcing; and is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. A proud father of two girls and lover of all Italian food, Matt is an eternal defender of Rudy, the greatest football movie of all time.