NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds: Willie Anderson Doesn't Think An Offensive Lineman Can Win

Willie Anderson is one of the greatest offensive linemen in the history of the NFL. He will one day be enshrined in Canton. He doesn’t believe an offensive lineman can win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
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NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds: Willie Anderson Doesn't Think An Offensive Lineman Can Win

Willie Anderson is one of the greatest offensive linemen in the history of the NFL. He will one day be enshrined in Canton. He doesn’t believe an offensive lineman can win Offensive Rookie of the Year.

After last year’s Rookie of the Year race that saw Creed Humphrey finish with just 3 points on the ballot, OddsChecker went looking for expert opinion on why that is. That way we could put better context on this year’s race which sees four offensive linemen on the market.

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Can a Lineman Win Offensive Rookie of the Year?

Tyler Linderbaum was given +15000 odds, or an implied 0.7% chance. Meanwhile, Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu, and Charles Cross were all given +20000 odds, or an implied 0.5% chance to win the award. None of them are in the top-40 on the odds market, even in a year without a top quarterback and that had no running backs go in the first round.

In an exclusive conversation with OddsChecker, Anderson explained that he doesn’t believe the way the game is covered today puts enough respect on the play of offensive linemen. “The death of the popularity of offensive linemen was when John Madden stopped calling games. John Madden made offensive linemen stars because he and his crew were highlighting and talking about that.”

So what’s the difference now? Well, Anderson says that it has to do with who the network is hiring to call these games. “Now every guy who’s announcing these games and are hired by these networks that are former players play what position? Quarterback, running back, wide receiver. So they’re not going to highlight those guys. It’s all about the TV and who’s covering the game.”

Anderson in particular had issues with the way offensive linemen were talked about. “Big hogs up front. That just says big guys hopping around big guys up front. Maybe in the 80s that was true, but these guys are high level athletes.” That really speaks to what Anderson thinks is the biggest issue, “The coverage of line play just hasn’t changed, in my opinion, the same way every other position has changed. They cover quarterbacks, which made wide receivers go through the roof. That made it so cornerbacks and pass rushers’ coverage went through the roof. Now they’re paying linemen through the roof, but the coverage and national attention for linemen just isn’t the same.”

When asked directly if Anderson believed that an offensive lineman could win Rookie of the Year, something that has never happened before, sometime in the near future, he made his opinion clear. “It definitely should happen. I just don’t have that much confidence in people doing the voting to pay that much attention and overlook a person with the ball in their hands.”

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

OddsRookieImplied chanceRank on the market
+850Kenny Pickett10.5%1st
+1000Breece Hall9.1%2nd
+1000Drake London9.1%3rd
+1100Chris Olave8.3%4th
+15000Tyler Linderbaum0.7%43rd
+20000Evan Neal0.5%45th
+20000Ikem Ekwonu0.5%45th
+20000Charles Cross0.5%45th
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A PR Associate at @OddsCheckerUS. Available for Podcasts, Radio, and TV. Quoted in Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated, and more.

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