2021 NFL ROTY Predictions
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

2021 NFL ROTY Predictions Heading Into The Season

With five quarterbacks taken in the first fifteen picks of the NFL draft as well as a plethora of skill players, the 2021 ROTY is wide open, and guys like Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and Kyle Pitts headline a star-studded rookie class. Justin Herbert took home the award last season but could we see a non-quarterback win the award as Saquon Barkley did in 2018. Having said that, here are my 2021 NFL ROTY predictions heading into the season.

2021 NFL ROTY Predictions- #1 Trey Lance

I know you might argue that Jimmy Garoppolo is the 49ers starting quarterback and that Trey Lance has not yet won the job, but I will put money on Lance being the week one starter. The kid is special and his physical tools blow Garoppolo out of the water. The Niners also start their season playing Lions and Eagles – not a bad first two opponents to start against in your NFL career.

Lance also has a unique advantage that no other rookie quarterback has: he was drafted to a team that was in the Super Bowl just two years ago. Kyle Shanahan is an elite coach who can maximize Lance’s raw talent and the 49ers’ skill players are among the league’s best. Deebo Samuel has become an elite receiver, Brandon Aiyuk is a stud and George Kittle is a generational talent at tight end. Not to mention that Shanahan always has a competent running game that is bound to take some pressure off of Lance.

Lance has another unique advantage in the fact that the Niners are going to win games, unlike other rookie QBs and their teams like Trevor Lawrence and the Jags. San Francisco is in the toughest division in football but they could win ten games on their way to a Wild Card appearance. If Lance is under center and plays well throughout the season, the award is his to lose.

2021 NFL ROTY Predictions-#2 Trevor Lawrence

The prodigal son landed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The football world has been talking about Lawrence’s future in the NFL for years and now, we finally get to see it. Lawrence might be the best quarterback prospect we have ever seen, but he is still on the Jaguars. Luckily for Lawrence, Justin Herbert and the Chargers went 7-9 last season and he took home the award.

The Jags have some nice offensive pieces in Laviska Shenault, DJ Chark, James Robinson, and Travis Etienne but my questions reside with Urban Meyer, who already seems overwhelmed by being an NFL head coach. I am interested to see how both Meyer and Lawrence react to a losing streak, something with which neither is likely familiar.

I think Lawrence has already been dubbed an elite quarterback so the expectations for him are going to be higher than Lance or Justin Fields. Lawrence will have his work cut out for him in 2021.

2021 NFL ROTY Predictions-#3 Najee Harris

Najee Harris to the Steelers was one of those picks that just made sense, as he could be the missing piece for this Steelers offense. Pittsburgh had a very weak rushing attack in 2020 which forced Ben Roethlisberger to throw the ball more than they wanted. Harris will walk into week one as the featured back and he is going to get a plethora of carries.

The Steelers’ offensive line took a hit in the offseason, as they released David DeCastro and Alejandro Villanueva signed with the Ravens. I think Harris can overcome a lackluster offensive line but it will hold him back from his true potential.

2021 NFL ROTY Predictions- #4- Justin Fields

The Bears got themselves an absolute gem in Fields and Bears fans should be rejoicing that Ryan Pace made a good move. Fields has talent but I do not know when he will take over the starting job. Matt Nagy has said Andy Dalton is the starter and has not hinted at Fields seeing the field anytime soon.

Similar to Lance’s situation with Garappolo, Fields is too talented to sit behind Dalton. The rookie should start week one.

2021 NFL ROTY Predictions- Dark Horse- Kyle Pitts

Pitts might be the greatest tight-end prospect we have ever seen. The former Florida Gator has been dubbed a unicorn and rightfully so, as the kid has a unique combination of size and speed that is going to make him a nightmare for defensive coordinators.

Pitts should have a productive season ahead of him, as Matt Ryan has very few targets besides Pitts and Calvin Ridley. The Falcons are going to be pretty bad but there is no doubt that Pitts is going to have a monster season. No tight-end has ever won rookie of the year – could Pitts become the first?

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