NFL DRAFT 2022 PLAYER PROFILES

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Who are the top rookie of the year prospects for the 2022 NFL season?
Photo: Adrian Hutchinson leads the pack for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the year.

Who are the top rookie of the year prospects for the 2022 NFL season?

It's that time of year again. The time when we all speculate about the upcoming NFL season without having seen any of the teams in action—at least not in any meaningful sense of the term.
When it comes to the NFL Rookie of the Year Awards, it's no different. We haven't seen much of any of the top candidates and how they'll actually perform in their new programs at the NFL level.

Still, we can't help but get excited about the potential these guys bring to the table and the impact they could have on their new teams. So without further ado, here are the top NFL Rookie of the Year candidates for the 2022-2023 season.

NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

Aidan Hutchinson EDGE | Detroit Lions | +400

The first candidate on our list is defensive end, Aidan Hutchinson, out of the University of Michigan. At 6'6" and 275 pounds, Hutchinson has the size and strength to be a force on the defensive line at the NFL level. He was named First Team All-Big Ten in 2020 after racking up 46 tackles, 11.5 for loss, and six sacks.

Hutchinson has the potential to be an impact player on any defense, but he gets to play for his hometown team, the Detroit Lions, so there is bound to be extra motivation. Hutchinson absolutely dominated for the Michigan Wolverines, which is why most thought he would go No. 1 in the Draft—he went No. 2—and is a top contender for NFL Defensive ROY this offseason.

Kayvon Thibodeaux | EDGE | NY Giants | +450

The next candidate on our list is edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, out of the University of Oregon. Thibodeaux was the No. 2 recruit in the nation coming out of high school and lived up to the hype in his three years with the Ducks.

In 2019, he was named the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year after racking up 9 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. At 6'5" and 250 pounds, Thibodeaux has the size and speed to be a force off the edge in the NFL. He's also extremely athletic, making him a versatile weapon that can be used in various ways.

The New York Giants, who are favored to win less than 7.5 games this season, can't wait to get him on the field to disrupt opposing offenses and start building his experience.

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Kenny Pickett | QB | Pittsburgh Steelers | +500

The first candidate on our list is quarterback Kenny Pickett out of the University of Pittsburgh. Pickett was a four-year starter for the Panthers, completing 63.5 percent of his passes for 7,527 yards, 45 touchdowns, and 24 interceptions. He also ran for 9 touchdowns in his career.

At 6'3" and 220 pounds, Pickett has decent size for an NFL quarterback. He's also quite athletic, having run a 4.63-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. While he's not the most gifted passer, he does have a good feel for the game and can make plays with his feet.

He's definitely the pride of Ohio at the moment and could likely develop into Tomlan's long-term QB solution. The only question is if he can beat out Mitch Trubisky for the starting role this season? If you think he'll end up with the playing time needed to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, you can check out BetMGM Ohio if you're looking to get in on the action.

The next two candidates are wide receivers, which is a position that has been historically difficult for rookies to make an immediate impact.

Drake London | WR | Atlanta Falcons | +600

Drake London stands atop one of the best rookie WR classes we've seen in recent years. The 6'5", 210-pound London was a star at the University of Southern California, catching 160 passes for 2,153 yards and 15 touchdowns in his three years with the Trojans. He also has experience as a returner, which is always a bonus.

London has good size and speed, but his bread and butter is his route running. He's extremely smooth in and out of his breaks, which should help him create separation at the NFL level. He also has strong hands, which is always a plus for a receiver.

The Atlanta Falcons need playmakers on offense, so London will have every opportunity to make an impact as a rookie. He's a strong candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year and can be found at most sportsbooks between +600 and +750.

Garrett Wilson | WR | New York Jets | +750

The second receiver on our list—and my darkhorse-ish pick—is Garrett Wilson, out of Ohio State University. Wilson was a key piece of the Buckeyes' offense during his time there, finishing his career with 143 catches for 2,213 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also ran for 143 yards and 1 touchdown.

At 6'0" and 190 pounds, Wilson has good size and speed for a receiver. He's also very athletic, having run a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. Wilson is a polished route runner with good hands, which should help him make an immediate impact in the NFL.

The New York Jets hope that Wilson can be the No. 1 receiver they've been missing for years. Sam Darnold has shown flashes of being a good quarterback, but he hasn't had much to work with in terms of weapons. If Wilson can step up and be the receiver the Jets need, he could have a shot at winning Offensive Rookie of the Year.

By Justin Hilbert nfldraftbuzz.com