Justin Jefferson Offensive Rookie of the Year

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Justin Herbert stole OROY from Justin Jefferson

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By Nick Lawler February 11, 2021 0 Comment
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Offensive Rookie of the Year is traditionally a quarterbacks’ award. This year was no different, except that a quarterback did not deserve to win the award.

The NFL Honors loves Quarterbacks. This year, Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings, deserved to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year. The voting committee disagreed. Jefferson, the dynamic receiver who landed among the league leaders in receiving yards (4th), was selected to the Pro Bowl and named 2nd-Team All-Pro. Justin Herbert, the strong-armed and sneaky-athletic quarterback messiah gave Los Angeles Chargers’ fans a bright spot in an otherwise lost season. Both rising superstars had claims to the accolade, but with a 41-to-9 vote, Herbert took the award home.

Offensive Rookie of the Year Candidates


However, I secretly wondered how Jefferson could not win it.He recorded the most receiving yards by a rookie since the 1966 merger and was a mere 17 yards away from being second in the league in receiving yards (Stefon Diggs, 1535).He finished 4 in the league in receiving yards and did so at an impressively efficient rate. The other nine leaders in yards averaged 147 targets for the season. Jefferson had 125. Those nine others averaged 13.2 yards per catch. Jefferson? 15.9.

No one is disputing the amazing season that Justin Herbert had, but using the rookie touchdown record as evidence can be counterproductive. That record has been broken three times in the past eight years, and seemingly every year there is a challenger to it again. Impressive? Sure. Offensive Rookie of the Year – worthy? Not quite. However, the record that Jefferson broke had stood since Anquan Boldin collected 1,377 yards in 2003.Herbert finished outside of the top ten in passer rating (12th) fallingright behind Derek Carrand Lamar Jackson. I think most would agree that those two did not have their best seasons passing the pigskin.


Also to be considered was their performance when the team failed to win. Justin Herbert played noticeably worse in his team’s losses, with his TD:INT ratio falling from an astounding14:1 to a mediocre 1.89:1. Additionally, he averaged 25 yards per game less, despite having almost two more passing attempts per game. In short, when the Chargers struggled, they relied on Herbert more. He failed to come through most of the time.

On the other hand, the Vikings lost because they failed to get their rookie involved as much. For instance, Jefferson averaged almost 1.5 targets per game less in games that Minnesota dropped. Despite this, he gave his best efforts in making up for it by averaging 1.5 yards per catch more. Justin Jefferson was not dependent on the team’s success. He was the team’s success.

Justin Herbert Rightfully Named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year


Every year we see the victims of the quarterback bias that surrounds the league, particularly when it comes to the NFL Honors. Derrick Henry’s 2000-yard season came and went without an MVP (although Aaron Rodgers did play lights out). Not to mention, Ezekiel Elliot lost out on his own OROY award to his teammate Dak Prescott in 2016. You can say goodbye to the thought of seeing a defensive player collect the MVP. Despite some incredibly dominant seasons from players like Aaron Donald, J.J. Watt, Khalil Mack, Justin Houston, and Jared Allen over the past decade, the quarterback has always prevailed

This year, that distinction goes to Justin Jefferson. The man had one of the best seasons in the league was snubbed by simply the best statistical rookie quarterback. We have always known the league loves its quarterbacks, but now the quarterback supremacy is taking over the NFL Honors.

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I cover and write about the Minnesota Vikings.


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