Power ranking top 5 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates

The 2023 NFL Draft Class did not waste any time making an impact on the field. With such a stacked class, who broke out amongst the rest?

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7)
Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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There have been some great two-man races for the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Anthony Thomas versus LaDainian Tomlinson went down to the wire in 2001. Justin Herbert versus Justin Jefferson was really a fight between philosophies (basically asking if anyone can beat a great QB, and the answer is no).

Saquon Barkley and Baker Mayfield had an incredibly fun first and second-overall matchup in 2018. Even last year, Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave had a fun run before the Jets receiver took it home (likely because the voters deemed Zach Wilson a bigger handicap than Andy Dalton).

This year, it's looking like another great one-two race at the top. However, the narrative around them is pretty insane. One is a quarterback who took a broken franchise out of the gutter and into playoff contention. The other is a wide receiver who took a once-proud franchise, replaced their biggest weapon as he got healthy, and has them back miraculously in the playoff hunt almost single-handedly.

However, it's not just those two. Ten rookies can conceivably argue they are in the top ten. Just to give you an idea of who didn't make the list, here are the honorable mentions:

Jahmyr Gibbs
Bijan Robinson
Zay Flowers
De’Von Achane
Tommy DeVito

And here are the top five.

5. Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs
Second Round, 55th Overall

The Kansas City Chiefs came into this season with a "quantity over quality" approach to the wide receiver position. At the start of the year, we thought former first-round pick Kadarius Toney would be the breakout candidate from this squad. That hasn't worked out at all. Skyy Moore was a candidate to be the next star at the position under Patrick Mahomes, but he has 244 yards on the season as of this writing. That's good for 144th in the league. Marquez Valdez-Scantling is the veteran on the squad, but he isn't even in the top three. Rashee Rice has broken out as the go-to receiver not named Travis Kelce on the Chiefs.

Rice took some time to get going, but he's been very reliable over the past month. Since November 20th, he's caught 32 of 38 targets for 334 yards and three touchdowns. On the season, he has 754 yards and seven touchdowns. As the rest of the team around him is dropping passes and forcing Mahomes to blow a gasket, Rice is rising to the occasion.

This was incredibly close between Rice and the Detroit Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs. They are both incredibly valuable, but Rice gets the nod because of the spotlight that comes with the defending champs and the fact the Lions have David Montgomery also crushing it this season. If Rice gets to 1,000 yards on this Chiefs offense, expect some to politely ask "should we be talking more about Rashee Rice for Offensive Rookie of the Year?".