We recently published our pick for 2021’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, which you can check out here, and the winner seemed pretty obvious: Ja’Marr Chase. It’s likely Chase will get the nod as this year’s top offensive rookie for multiple outlets, including The Draft Network, which recently published their end-of-year awards that included the Bengals wideout at the top of 2021’s rookie class.
“Chase helped his Bengals capture the AFC North division title for the first time since 2015 by putting forth a record-breaking performance against the Chiefs that saw Chase set the single-game record for receiving yards (266) in a contest by a rookie pass-catcher,” TDN’s Justin Melo wrote. “The former LSU standout has absolutely taken the league by storm while terrorizing opposing secondaries on what feels like a weekly basis. Chase has more than lived up to his draft billing by shattering any realistic expectations the Bengals held for him in year one. He’s quickly established himself as an elite receiver in the NFL and it would be a great example of injustice if he fails to take home this award at this point.”
Chase was TDN’s pick by a wide margin, with Patriots quarterback Mac Jones finishing in second place.
Jones will certainly have his supporters who believe he’s the real offensive rookie of the year, but we can’t overlook what Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts has accomplished this year, too. Arguably the most-hyped tight end prospect of all-time, Pitts quietly became just the second rookie tight end to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards. He finished the year with 1,026 yards, a total that came 50 yards shy of breaking Mike Ditka’s all-time record for receiving yards by a first-year tight end.
Part of what made Pitts’ first season stay under the radar was his lack of touchdown production. He hit paydirt only one time in 2021, which hurt his standing in fantasy football circles and kept him out of the highlight packages on Sunday nights. But his rookie season was near-historic, and the arrow is pointing WAY up on his career.
Still, Chase was simply brilliant this year. His 1,455 yards are the most ever by a rookie receiver in the Super Bowl era, topping Vikings star Justin Jefferson’s 1,400 yards in 2020.