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OROY and DROY Bets to Take After NFL Week 5

OROY/DROY Bets to Take

There is still plenty of action left in the 2022 NFL season. However, five games are enough of a sample size to get an idea of who could be in the race for individual awards at the end of the year.

The Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards are among the most prestigious in the NFL. However, this year's draft class differs a bit from many recent rookie classes. For the first time since 2007, no rookie quarterbacks started in Week 1. Though only two of the last 10 OROY winners were quarterbacks, not having a Day 1 starter throws a wrench in the race.

Frontrunners have emerged through the first five weeks of play. On offense, Dameon Pierce (Houston, RB), Breece Hall (Jets, RB) and Chris Olave (Saints, WR) have separated themselves from the pack. Defensively, Devin Lloyd (Jaguars, LB), Sauce Gardner (Jets, CB) and Aidan Hutchinson (Lions, Edge) project as favorites.

That said, it's still very early in the season. An odds-on favorite now might not be one come February. If you're looking to take some risks and put money on some long shots, then there are a handful of rookies on both sides of the ball who fit the bill.

I broke down smart OROY and DROY bets back in August. I had Pierce as a smart bet at +3000, and as of this writing, he is the odds-on favorite to win OROY at +500. Olave at +1200 and Hall at +800 were two other rookies I was especially high on. Those two players have both since seen their respective odds improve to +550.

Two of my defensive standouts, Nakobe Dean and DeMarvin Leal, have both taken on backup roles for their respective teams. However, Chiefs edge rusher George Karlaftis' odds have since gone from +2000 to +1150. It's a risky practice, but long-shot odds like this can be profitable.

Using Sports Betting Dime's consensus odds, let's look at some smart long-shot bets in the OROY and DROY races.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Steelers QB Kenny Pickett (+1100)


It feels strange calling a quarterback a value bet for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Although Pickett is outside of the top six, he still seems like a potential gem.

The Steelers' starting quarterback job is now Pickett's to lose. After a slow start to the season, Pittsburgh benched Mitch Trubisky in favor of their 2022 first-round pick. Pickett's production through two games seems worrisome at first glance. He has zero touchdowns and four interceptions. That said, he has shown a willingness to go for the big play, something the Steelers didn't get with Trubisky. Pickett threw for 327 yards in his first NFL start, which could go a long way to pad his stats.

Don't get it twisted: the Steelers probably won't finish the 2022 season with a great record. That could end up playing to Pickett's advantage, though. It seems likely Pittsburgh will be playing from behind a lot, which would, hypothetically, inflate his passing production in garbage time against preventive defenses. He'll have a tougher road, having not been the starter for an entire season, but Pickett seems like the type of bet whose Offensive Rookie of the Year odds will only get better as the year progresses.

Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III (+1800)


Don't be surprised if Walker skyrockets up these boards in a few weeks.

With Rashaad Penny out for the season, the Seahawks' backfield is now Walker's for the taking. The Michigan State product broke out with eight carries for 88 yards and a touchdown in Week 5 against the Saints. Seattle's offensive output has been much better than many expected this season, and if they keep up their high-scoring ways, Walker could receive plenty of carries late in games.

Walker's vision, explosiveness and tough running style make him a serious home-run threat. Players with his skill set usually explode for massive production, especially in a bell-cow role. He currently has the ninth-best odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Take advantage of that while you still can. He could be a heavy favorite soon.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Patriots CB Jack Jones (+1300)

Bill Belichick is known for getting the most out of Day 3 or undrafted players. The early returns indicate he might have a difference-maker on his hands in Jones.

Jones was a fourth-round pick but has immediately stepped in as a key contributor for New England's secondary. He has two interceptions and three pass deflections through five games, placing him among the NFL's more productive cornerbacks. He ranks fifth in the league with a 35.4 allowed passer rating, and his 50% allowed completion percentage ranks third among all rookies.

PFF has Jones graded as the best defensive rookie after Week 5. He has been efficient when targeted and has managed to neutralize opponents' passing attacks in a way few rookies could. The scary thing? Jones has only played on 53.77% of the Patriots' defensive snaps. Logic indicates he'll take on a bigger role as the season progresses, making him a strong DROY bet.

Seahawks CB Tariq Woolen (+1400)

Woolen has made plays at a level few could have imagined heading into his rookie year. Draft analysts generally pegged him as a raw, gifted prospect who would require serious coaching from whichever team drafted him. However, the UTSA fifth-round pick has tallied three interceptions, four pass deflections and a defensive touchdown.

A former wide receiver at the collegiate level, Woolen's physical gifts have translated well to the NFL. His 6-foot-4-inch, 205-pound frame, and 4.26 speed give him a combination of length and athleticism that few if any, can match. Woolen's 35.8 allowed passer rating is seventh in the NFL, and he's only allowed half of the targets thrown his way to be completions. Woolen's odds are tied for eighth as of this writing, but his production indicates he belongs much higher.

WATCH MORE: How Did Kenny Pickett and Bailey Zappe Play in Their First Starts?