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Early Candidates for NFL Rookie of the Year

Varshabh Iyer
CONTRIBUTOR
Top 5 / Top 10
208   //    04 Jul 2018, 21:42 IST

With the 2018 NFL Draft ending with a bang, it's time for us to predict the list of rookies who could well end up with the coveted Rookie of the Year honors. While some may argue that the season is nowhere close to the beginning, it never is too early to start predicting!

256 picks made over the course of 7 rounds in 3 days, and another 38 trades amongst 32 teams pretty much summed up the 2018 Draft Class and the frantic off-season. While who won the draft remains a divided opinion - with many leaning towards the Cleveland Browns for their smart pickups, some adjudge the New York Giants as the winners for known reasons!

History has it that the first-round picks have the best shot by a mile, winning the ROY honors isn't that simplified. Injuries sadly play a huge part, and so does the team performance. Keeping all the peripheral factors aside, here are 6 players who look most likely to win the 2018 Rookie of the Year honors.

Offensive Rookie of the Year Candidates

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

2018 NFL Draft
The New York Giants pick Saquon Barkley at the 2018 NFL Draft

Arguably the best player in the 2018 Draft Class, Saquon Barkley is a unique prospect. The Giants thought the same when they picked him with their second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. While there is a tremendous risk in using a high pick on a running back, given that they suffer numerous hits through the season - Barkley sure has some serious upside. At the NFL Combine, he bench-pressed 225 pounds 29 times, and ran his 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds! His agility is absurd, consistently flying past defenders (or over them!) with shocking ease. Bringing his versatility into the equation, we have within us a generational player - rightly posed as the front-runner for winning the ROY honors this year.

Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks

NFL: APR 26 2018 NFL Draft
NFL: APR 26 2018 NFL Draft

With the 27th overall pick, the Seattle Seahawks picked San Diego State's star running back Rashaad Penny. Penny is known to be a big threat in the passing game, which explains why the Seahawks went after him. Coach Pete Carroll has even gone on record, complementing his versatility and his elusiveness. Known to have the big-play ability within him, Rashaad may well surprise us with his limited playing time - making him a strong contender for the ROY honors.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns

2018 NFL Draft
2018 NFL Draft - Baker Mayfield

With the No.1 overall pick, the Cleveland Browns picked Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma's cocky and charismatic quarterback. After much discussion and debate, the Browns definitely bet big on college football's best player last season. He passed for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns, fetching him the Heisman trophy and plenty of paparazzi. While his off-field behavior has landed him in trouble (2017 arrest), his on-field play has been nothing short of legendary. He looks natural to hit the podium for the ROY honors this year.

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Varshabh Iyer
CONTRIBUTOR
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