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2024 NFL Draft: Rookie Of The Year Best Bets Following 1st Round

I’m pretty annoyed with the 2024 NFL Draft after the 1st day because only one of my “best bets” cashed. I reluctantly wasted time looking for NFL draft bets I knew would lose. The only reason I bet that horses*** is because I love football so much and I don’t feel like waiting until preseason to gamble on the NFL. Alright, I’m done whining. It’s time to start preparing for the NFL season and I’m taking shots at both rookie of the year betting markets. 

Rookie of the Year Best Bets After Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft

The odds are from Thursday, April 25th. 

Offensive Rookie of the Year Looks 

Little did I know, Houston Texans QB C.J. Stroud winning the 2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year was a LOCK! Stroud had the best rookie season as a quarterback since maybe Dan Marino. After the 2023 NFL Draft, Stroud was the 4th favorite to win rookie of the year at +700, behind Atlanta Falcons RB Bijan Robinson (+300), Carolina Panthers QB Bryce Young (+475), and Seattle Seahawks WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (+650), according to the Lines.com

Of course, I didn’t bet him. Nope. Instead, like a dummy, I bet the 1st pick, Young. For the record, I always liked Stroud and I’m one of the few people who thought the Texans would be any good last year. That’s neither here nor there. The 1st day of the 2024 NFL Draft is in the books and I’m going to guess next year’s offensive rookie of the year. 

Chicago Bears QB Caleb Williams (+210 at FanDuel) 

I know, it’s lame. But, I started the “Caleb Williams Bandwagon” when I started writing for OutKick in August 2022. I wrote to bet on Williams to win the 2022 Heisman Trophy at +700 odds, which he did. In one of my 1st appearances on Dan Dakich’s show in 2022, I said Williams would be the 1st pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, which he was. 

Williams got dragged for USC underperforming last year. His QB Rating, completion rate, and yards per attempt improved from his Heisman-winning season. It was USC’s defense that sucked, not Williams. The Trojans averaged 41.8 points per game (3rd in the country) and the defense allowed 34.4 PPG (121st). Regardless, I’ve been sky-high on Williams’ play-making ability, arm strength, and athleticism for years now. 

Essentially, I’m willing to stake my football reputation on Williams being a franchise quarterback. The Bears should contend for the NFC North and sneak into the playoffs with Caleb under center. They were trending in the right direction by the end of 2023. After trading for DE Montez Sweat last season, Chicago had a top-10 defense in the NFL. 

Caleb has two good receivers (D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen), just drafted another WR with the 10th pick (Rome Odunze), a solid tight end (Cole Kmet), and an underrated offensive line. His offensive coordinator (OC), Shane Waldron, is from the Sean McVay coaching tree. Waldron turned Geno Smith into a decent quarterback as Seattle’s OC from 2021-23. 

Williams has a clear path to this award as long as another rookie doesn’t have a Stroud-like rookie season. Caleb needs to have 25+ total touchdowns with fewer than 15 interceptions, and the Bears must be a playoff team or at least a contender. And I’m betting all this happens. 

Minnesota Vikings QB J.J. McCarthy, 10th pick (+1000 at FanDuel)

Besides Williams, I could see any of the five 1st-round quarterbacks in 2024 sucking. Here’s the order I ranked the quarterbacks most likely to be taken in the 1st round of the 2024 NFL Draft: Williams (1st pick), New England Patriots QB Drake Maye (3rd), McCarthy (10th), Washington Commanders QB Jayden Daniels (2nd), Las Vegas Raiders QB Michael Penix Jr. (8th), and Denver Broncos QB Bo Nix (12th). 

I don’t love having two quarterbacks from the same division in my betting portfolio. However, McCarthy has the best situation out of all the quarterbacks taken in the 1st round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Vikings 3rd-year head coach Kevin O’Connell won the NFC North in his 1st season and got Minnesota to the playoffs. Vikings WR, and 2022 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, Justin Jefferson is one of the best wideouts in the league. 

Historic First Night Of NFL Draft With Quarterbacks Galore: But Who’s Going To Succeed, Who Will Fail?

Minnesota drafted WR Jordan Addison in the 1st-round last year. Addison caught 70 balls for 911 yards and 10 TDs as a rookie and looks like a legit No. 2 option. Vikings TE T.J. Hockenson is a top-five tight end in the NFL. McCarthy has a weapon in the backfield since the Vikings signed dual-threat RB Aaron Jones this offseason.

Their 2nd-year defensive coordinator Brian Flores is a defensive mastermind and Minnesota used the 17th pick on edge rusher Dallas Turner. The Vikings regressed from 13-4 in 2022 to 7-10 last season. Yet, they had a tough schedule early on and started to play well before former QB Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles. Minnesota was good enough to win a weak NFC last year while Cousins was still healthy. 

Basically, the Vikings were a quarterback away from being a contender last year. They signed QB Sam Darnold this offseason as a “bridge quarterback”. However, McCarthy can outplay Darnold in training camp and earn the Week 1 starting job. And if Minnesota returns to the playoffs in McCarthy’s rookie season, he’s winning this award.


Defensive Rookie of the Year Best Bet

Texans pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. was my official pick to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year last year. Unfortunately, Anderson was the favorite with +350 odds and it wasn’t a big enough payout for me at the time. In my defense, betting on golf has ruined futures in team sports. I get a 40-to-1 or higher rush betting on the PGA TOUR weekly. 

READ: UCLA’s Laiatu Latu Breaks String Of Offensive Players As First Defensive Player Selected In NFL Draft

Hence, I don’t want to wait 7+ months for an NFL future bet to be graded. I abandoned that philosophy above because I love Williams so much as a prospect. Well, for defensive rookie of the year the shortest odds at DraftKings is new Indianapolis Colts edge rusher Laiatu Latu (+650), followed by Turner (+900), and my bet to win this award. 

Los Angeles Rams edge rusher Jared Verse, 19th pick (+1000 at DraftKings)

Verse was the 4th defensive player off the board Thursday. This is the 1st time LA drafted in the 1st round since picking former QB Jared Goff 1st overall in 2016. The Rams went with Verse because future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald retired this offseason. They won the 2021 Super Bowl and bounced back from an awful 2022 defense to surprise people and make the playoffs last season. 

It would help Verse’s case to win defensive rookie of the year if he A-put up stats and B-the Rams make the playoffs again. Verse was a two-time All-American in 2022-23 for Florida State. LAR should have a high-scoring offense, so their opponents should be throwing a lot to keep up, and giving Verse chances to get sacks. Also, this is a “pass rusher’s award”. 

New York Jets CB Sauce Gardner won the 2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Otherwise, Houston Texans edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. won it last year. Pass rushers Dallas Cowboys’ Micah Parsons, San Francisco 49ers’ Nick Bosa, and former Washington Commanders’ Chase Young won defensive rookie of the year from 2019-21. I.e. the rookie with the most sacks will most likely win this award.

LAR’s new pass rusher is the best option given this and all the other options. Verse, Latu, and Turner are a toss-up from a skill standpoint and all three are pass rushers. Latu had the most sacks of the three in college football last season and Turner played at Alabama under legendary head coach Nick Saban. However, Verse has the juiciest price, so he breaks the tie. 


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