Gotcha. Unfortunately, Chris Olave was shunned from being a finalist for the 2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, even though I think he was a great choice.
Your three finalists are: (QB) Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers, (WR) Garrett Wilson of the New York Jets, and (RB) Kenneth Walker III of the Seattle Seahawks.
Brock Purdy (QB) San Francisco 49ers
Brock Purdy, known by the NFL as, “Mr. Irrelevant”, was taken with the last pick of the 2022 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49er’s. What you don’t know is his story on how he went from being “Mr. Irrelevant” to starting in his first NFL playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, winning and moving on.
With days left to go before the NFL’s 53-man deadline cuts, the 23-year-old out of Iowa State had to beat out a popular veteran. It was none other than the former Philadelphia Eagle and Indiana Hoosier great, Nate Sudfeld. On March 11, 2022, the team by the Bay signed the journeyman vet to an ensured deal worth $2 million.
The 49ers meanwhile, nearly lost primary starter Jimmy Garoppolo who was supposed to be traded to free up salary-cap space and allow 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance to have the full keys to the operation.
But as soon as the NFL draft came in April, head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch conversed about the potential move to draft a third quarterback in possibly the later rounds. Lynch remembers Shanahan telling him in an interview with San Francisco radio station KNBR, “I’d like to go get another young quarterback just to add into the mix. Let’s try to identify one later.”
One of those choices was Purdy. A freshman who started for the Iowa State Cyclones. The former three-star recruit, held his position until he graduated. He also assisted in turning his team around and guiding them to four total winning years.
The 49ers recruited Purdy very hard. They conducted interviews and held Zoom calls with many different coaches. The 49ers first wanted to mark Purdy as the team’s significantly sought-after undrafted free agent, but they revamped their direction. All in the wake of being able to fill their needs at the cornerback and offensive line positions.
The NFL granted the 49ers a record-high five additional draft picks in 2022 for losing coaches, executives or free-agent players to other squads. The last pick in the draft that grants the “Mr. Irrelevant” name on a player each season, gave the 49er’s a great chance to over-indulge on a quarterback whose timing and mobility surprised the 49ers so much, that they didn’t want to pass on him.
Garrett Wilson (WR) New York Jets
Garrett Wilson was selected 10th overall by the New York Jets in the 2022 NFL draft after opting out of the Rose Bowl at Ohio State. He was expected to come in and contribute right away, despite having a sticky situation with their starting quarterback.
Wilson has led all rookie WR’s with 1,103 yards on 83 catches and four touchdowns, and doing so with inconsistency at their starting QB position. Wilson also recorded three games of over 100 receiving yards (102) vs. the Browns, (115) vs. the Broncos, and (162) against the Vikings. He then had three more games with at least 90 yards receiving.
Wilson also had two touchdowns against the Browns and the Bears.
He amazingly has shown everybody he’s a man’s receiver despite being a 22-year-old Gen-Z rookie born in the year 2000.
Kenneth Walker III (RB) Seattle Seahawks
Kenneth Walker III was selected in the second-round (pick 41) of the 2022 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Walker started his college career at Wake Forest where from 2019-2020, he rushed for back-back 500+ yards.
In 2021, Walker transferred to Michigan State where he became an instant starter. He ran for 1,636 yards and won the 2021 Walter Camp and Doak Walker awards. After the season, he declared for the 2022 NFL draft.
This season, Walker has been dominant for a rookie. He rushed for 1,050 yards on 228 carries and 9 touchdowns in 15 games played.
Based on current projections, it should come down to either Seattle Seahawks Running Back Kenneth Walker III or NY Jets Wide Receiver Garrett Wilson.
Purdy is definitely a feel good story, but he just needed to play more regular season games to get his feet wet, in my opinion for him to be considered for the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The winner of the Associated Press Award will be named during the 12th Annual NFL Honors celebration on February 9, 2023.
So, what do you think, do one of these guys become the winner of the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year? Or do you have your favorite player in mind?
Let me know who you think should take home the title?
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It’s got to be Brock
Very informative article
I vote for Puffy.
Damn spell check! I vote for Purdy.
It’s Purdy. Not even close. If Wilson had Mike White the whole season, he would be much better. Still, 7-0 for any rookie is impressive.
In my opinion Purdy should win
I agree with the consensus for Purdy. What a great effort!