What are the odds that the Vikings could have a third Rookie of the Year award winner in just 5 years?
Probably not as far fetched as you might guess...
Scanning the list of previous AP Offensive Rookie of the Year winners reveals some strong trends:
All 44 winners since 1967 have been QB's, RB's, or WR's.
For the past 8 years, all were 1st round draft picks.
Now look at this year's draft, where there were 8 players at those key positions selected in the 1st round:
- QB's Cam Newton (Panthers), Jake Locker (Titans), Blaine Gabbert (Jaguars) and Christian Ponder (Vikings)
- RB Marc Ingram (Saints)
- WR's AJ Green (Bengals), Julio Jones (Falcons) and Jonathan Baldwin (Chiefs)
These trends strongly suggest that this year's Offensive ROY award will go to a QB, RB, or WR selected in the first round of the draft. But obviously, a player also needs substantial playing time to have a chance to win the award...
- QB's Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert look like they'll be starting their careers on the bench.
- RB Marc Ingram will join a crowded backfield in New Orleans that already includes Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas.
- WR's Green, Jones, and Baldwin are at a disadvantage from the start, as WR's split receptions with other receivers on their respective teams. This might explain why only 8 WR's have won ROY honors in 44 years, a pace far behind that of QB's and RB's who account for the other 36 award winners. For that reason, I'm betting against these WR's winning ROY honors and leaving them of the final list...
So who's left at the QB/RB position who was a 1st round pick, and with good odds of seeing substantial playing time in 2011?
Just 2 names: Cam Newton and Christian Ponder.