Malik Willis with parents at NFL Draft

Apr 28, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Liberty quarterback Malik Willis with his father Harold Willis and mother Shasta Grier on the red carpet at the Fountains of Bellagio before the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

  • Quarterbacks Kenny Pickett and Malik Willis are the +500 co-betting favorites to win the 2022 NFL OROY heading into the Thursday, April 28 NFL Draft
  • Last year’s winner was Cincinnati Bengals wideout Ja’Marr Chase
  • Six of the top-12 contenders for 2022 NFL OROY are wide receivers

QB or not QB appears to be the question on the minds of oddsmakers when it comes to the 2022 NFL OROY odds. Entering the first day of the NFL Draft on Thursday, Appril 28, quarterbacks Kenny Pickett of Pitt and Malik Willis of Liberty are set as the co-favorites to win the award at +500.

On the surface, this seems like a tenuous wager at best. There’s no guarantee either QB will be any early selection on draft night. As well, depending on which team makes the selection, the chances of either player starting as a rookie appear remote.

2022 NFL OROY of the Year Odds

Player-Position (School) Odds
Malik Willis-QB (Liberty) +500
Kenny Pickett-QB (Pitt) +500
Breece Hall-RB (Iowa State) +800
Treylon Burks-WR (Arkansas) +1000
Garrett Wilson-WR (Ohio State) +1000
Drake London-WR (USC) +1000
Kenneth Walker III-RB (Michigan State) +1200
Jameson Williams-WR (Alabama) +1200
Desmond Ridder-QB (Cincinnati) +1400
Sam Howell-QB (North Carolina) +1600
Chris Olave-WR (Ohio State) +1600
Jahan Dotson-WR (Penn State) +1800
Matt Corral-QB (Ole Miss) +2000
Isaiah Spiller-RB (Texas A&M) +2500
Skyy Moore-WR (Western Michigan) +3000
George Pickens-WR (Georgia) +3000
Kyren Williams-RB (Notre Dame) +4000
Carson Strong-QB (Nevada) +4000
Trey McBride-TE (Colorado State) +5000
John Metchie III-WR (Alabama) +5000
Jalen Tolbert-WR (South Alabama) +5000
James Cook-RB (Georgia) +5000
Christian Watson-WR (North Dakota State) +5000
Dameon Pierce-RB (Florida) +5000

Odds as of April 28th at DraftKings Sportsbook

That being the case, if you insist on getting a bet down early, the best play at this stage looks to be to go with a running back or wide receiver. Iowa State running back Breece Hall is the third betting choice at +500.

Running backs have won NFL OROY twice over the past six seasons. However, it was a wide receiver, Ja’Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals, who ran off with the honor in 2021.

Receiving Plenty of Attention

There’s plenty of speculation that NFL teams are looking to trade up in the draft order to get their hands on one of the top wide receiver prospects available in this year’s class.

The last two draft classes were dominated by quarterbacks. Based on the 2022 NFL Draft odds, it could be argued that on the offensive side of ball, this is the year of the wide receiver.

Treylon Burks of Arkansas, Garrett Wilson of Ohio State and USC’s Drake London at are set at +1000 in the opening NFL OROY odds. Alabama’s Jameson Williams (+1200), Ohio State’s Chris Olave (+1600) and Penn State’s Jahan Dotson (+1800) are also among the top-12 contenders.

Wideouts a Bigger Factor Than In Past Years

Prior to Chase, Odell Beckham Jr with the 2014 New York Giants was the previous wideout to win NFL OROY. Chase was the third wide receiver to earn the honor since 2009 and only the fifth since 1993.

Only once have wide receivers been named NFL OROY in successive seasons. That was Louis Lipps of the Pittsburgh Steelers (1984) and Eddie Brown of the Bengals (1985).

However, changes in the game that are opening up more and more to the passing game are putting young receivers into roles of prominence once almost exclusively reserved for rookie running backs.

Though they didn’t win the award, Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings and Chase Claypool of the Pittsburgh Steelers were prominent contenders for NFL OROY in 2020.

NFL ROY Betting Trends

Each of the last four winners of the NFL OROY were selected among the top six choices on draft day.

Two of them finished among the top four in the Heisman Trophy voting and one was part of a national championship squad during their final year of college ball.

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