The 2023 NFL regular season commences Thursday between the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions. The race for Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year begins in earnest. CBSSports.com will be tracking the race each week from a betting odds perspective.
Here are my favorites to win each award, plus a sleeper (which is characterized as +2500 odds or steeper):
All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook as of Monday afternoon.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
4. RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions (+1000)
Quarterbacks should always be viewed as the favorite for the award when opportunity meets talent. There were three quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft and all three have been named Week 1 starters for their respective teams. Those three should all be among the favorites to win the award, particularly those (Richardson) who can also accumulate yardage with their legs.
The exception to the quarterback rule is supreme talent. The 2023 NFL Draft class was relatively week in regards to the wide receiver position. Although Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a perfect fit in Seattle's offense, there are questions about whether or not he will receive the target share necessary to win the award, especially when there are other viable candidates. Gibbs and Robinson may be listed as running backs in your Fantasy league, but both displayed a natural ability to catch the football in college. Their dual-threat capabilities make them realistic candidates to win the honor.
Tight ends never win the award so this is an incredible longshot. However, there were few tantalizing options beyond those presented among the favorites. It would be reckless to take anyone outside of the five favorites unless another rookie quarterback, like Will Levis of the Titans, is named a starter early in the season.
Musgrave will be valuable in Green Bay's rushing attack but he also has a dynamic skill set as a pass-catcher in that role. If he can stay healthy, which he struggled to do in college, then he could emerge as a favorite target of first-year quarterback Jordan Love.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
4. EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Texans (+450)
There is greater awareness for quality of play rather than bare statistics. Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner had fewer sacks than fellow rookie Tariq Woolen, but Gardner was much more effective on a down in, down out basis. For that reason, Carter has to be considered among the favorites to win the award. He is playing an important role for a likely Super Bowl contender and may have been the most talented prospect available for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Gonzalez has prototypical size to be a man coverage cornerback in Bill Belichick's scheme. If he is put on an island, then he will have a chance to prove himself as one of the rising stars of the league. Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson have been able to excel in similar exposure previously.
Forbes was taken just ahead of Gonzalez in the draft order. While he may not possess prototypical size, Forbes was a ball hawk in college and that often transitions from one level to the next. Over the course of his career at Mississippi State, he tallied 14 total interceptions and returned six for touchdowns.
Anderson, who was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, plays a role most often awarded Rookie of the Year. Players able to accumulate nine+ sacks in a season are often in pole position when it comes to winning the award. Anderson does not have the same upside as a Myles Garrett or Nick Bosa, but he is still capable of reaching that threshold. The San Francisco defense, which produced head coach DeMeco Ryans, believes in empowering its edge rushers and aligning them in a Wide-9 stance, which puts pressure on opposing offensive linemen and allows the edge rushers to do what they do best -- rush the passer.
Witherspoon is on the list because of his potential. He was taken No. 5 overall for a reason. He is an aggressive cornerback who often finds himself around the football. Playing opposite Woolen should put him in a position to get targets early in the season. The concern associated with Witherspoon is that he dealt with a hamstring injury throughout the NFL Draft process and has continued to deal with a hamstring injury during training camp. Hamstring injuries are known to linger and that could impact his availability.
Herbig has been a standout in Pittsburgh's preseason. He is learning from fellow Wisconsin pass rusher T.J. Watt and is playing alongside his brother, Nate. The only limiting factor for the fourth-round pick is opportunity. If Alex Highsmith and Watt are both healthy, then Herbig will not see the field as much as he needs to in order to win the award. If Watt suffers another early season injury, then those willing to take the risk would be holding onto a valuable ticket.