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Renner: Ranking top Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates for the 2021 NFL season

Oct 3, 2020; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) looks to make a pass during their game against Virginia at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

While it’s fun to rank NFL players in a vacuum, there are often more important variables to a player's success than pure talent — such as landing spot, supporting cast and situation. That’s why when ranking the favorites for Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, it’s not simply going to look like the PFF Big Board. Here’s how I’d rank the Rookie of the Year candidates.

All odds are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook

More of PFF's 2021 NFL Draft tools here: 
2021 NFL Draft Big Board | 2021 NFL Draft Guide | 2021 NFL Draft Stats Export | NFL Mock Drafts | NFL Mock Draft Simulator

Offensive Rookie of the Year

1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars (+300)

Lawrence’s talent transcends his situation. The Jaguars kept their 22nd-ranked offensive line from a year ago intact over the offseason and added Stanford’s Walker Little, PFF’s fourth-ranked offensive tackle, in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. They also have some capable playmakers in D.J. Chark Jr., 2020 second-rounder Laviska Shenault Jr. and the newly added Marvin Jones Jr. That’s more than enough weaponry for Lawrence to hit the ground running in Urban Myer’s offense.

2. WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals (+1100)

While this is traditionally a quarterback-driven award, Chase couldn’t have gone to a better situation to produce. He not only has established rapport with his former college quarterback, which led to 24 deep receptions in 2019, but he also takes over A.J. Green’s role in the offense that saw the veteran garner 101 targets at an average depth of 14.1 yards downfield last season. Chase could realistically challenge Justin Jefferson’s new rookie receiving record (1,400 yards) out of the gate.

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