Following the 2021 NFL Draft, fans and media members alike started making their early predictions for this year’s Rookie of the Year.
Of course quarterbacks such as Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and Mac Jones are all considered to be favorites.
Tight end Kyle Pitts and Najee Harris are also two of the favorites.
In the end, all of those players should have the opportunity to make an almost immediate impact and are in pole position for the 2021 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
However, last year, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert claimed ROY honors after not many expected him to be the Week 1 starter.
The 2021 NFL Draft class provided numerous weapons that should help revitalize their teams for years to come.
These three players have a chance to break the mold and prove they deserve to be in the same conversation as the top rookies in this year’s class.
3. Javonte Williams – Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos selected Javonte Williams with the No. 35 overall pick in the draft.
He spent three years at North Carolina, rushing 366 times for 2,297 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Williams added 50 receptions for 539 yards and four additional scores.
Throughout training camp, Williams has been talked about as potentially being the Broncos’ starting running back come Week 1.
— Fantasy Sports Radio (@SiriusXMFantasy) June 14, 2021
Ryan O’Halloran, who works for the Denver Post, also predicted that Williams will lead Denver in rushing attempts this season.
Williams started the Broncos’ Week 1 preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings.
In a 33-6 win, Williams rushed five times for 29 yards, equaling 5.8 yards per carry.
Broncos motion to 12 personnel. Javonte Williams with an 11-yard rush on his first NFL carry. pic.twitter.com/WDJPo6yrOE
— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) August 14, 2021
He also had a four-yard touchdown run called back due to a holding penalty.
William’s biggest competition for the starting role is veteran Melvin Gordon.
However, Gordon was held out of the team’s preseason game as he continues to deal with a groin injury.
If Gordon continues to miss time, Williams can truly take a stranglehold on the Broncos’ starting running back job.
Denver would not have taken him so early in the second round if they didn’t think he could handle it.
If Williams earns a three-down role with the Broncos, he will have an opportunity to prove how explosive he is as a runner and could vault himself into the ROY conversation.
2. Michael Carter – New York Jets
Michael Carter was actually Williams’ teammate at North Carolina.
In four seasons, Carter rushed 514 times for 3,404 and 22 touchdowns while adding 82 catches for 656 yards and six scores.
The New York Jets selected Carter in the fourth round with the No. 107 overall pick.
Entering training camp, Carter was getting playing time with the first-team offense.
#Jets starting offense: Mike White, Mike Carter, Keelan Cole, Jamison Crowder, Corey Davis, Tyler Kroft, Mekhi Becton, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, Morgan Moses
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) July 28, 2021
Unlike Williams, Carter will have a much tougher road to actually being the Jets’ starter.
New York signed Tevin Coleman, who played for the San Francisco 49ers under new head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.
They also have Ty Johnson, who led the team with nine carries and 33 years in the Jets’ Week 1 preseason win over the NEw York Giants and La’Mical Perine, who New York took in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
However, Connor Hughes of The Athletic reported that Carter has been ahead of those running backs early in camp.
Carter has been making plays as a runner and a pass catcher this offseason.
— Will Parkinson (@Willpa11) August 16, 2021
Carter’s Rookie of the Year potential truly comes down to how many snaps he gets.
But if he can earn the role, Carter has more potential than what Coleman, Johnson, and Perine have shown in their respective careers.
If Carter is in the middle of an overall improved Jets offense, he can certainly turn some heads.
1. Rondale Moore – Arizona Cardinals
Former Purdue standout Rondale Moore was the seventh receiver taken in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Arizona Cardinals selected him in the second round with the No. 49 overall pick.
However, if Moore is able to sustain a consistent role in Kliff Kingsburry’s offense, he could prove to not only be a draft steal but an explosive weapon for the Cardinals.
Injuries hampered Moore in college as he appeared in just seven games his last two seasons at Purdue.
However, as a freshman, Moore caught 114 passes for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns.
He even ran 21 times for 213 yards and two scores.
Speed has never been a question for Moore, as he ran an unofficial 4.29 40-yard dash at Purdue’s Pro Day.
He has proven to be a play-maker all offseason and had an opportunity to show his skills in the Cardinals’ 19-16 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 of the NFL preseason.
There, Moore caught three passes for 23 yards and rushed twice for 16 yards.
Rondale Moore has been activated. pic.twitter.com/Thq8spRhfL
— Justin Woodruff (@WoodJustRuff) August 14, 2021
Kingsbury has gone on record saying he plans on manufacturing plays for Moore throughout the season.
Standing just 5-foot-7, Moore will never be the tallest receiver on the field.
However, what he lacks in size he makes up for in agility.
He has the potential to be a lightning bolt on offense for the Cardinals and become the first wide receiver to win Rookie of the Year since Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014.