The Iowa football team had two tight ends drafted in the first round this year, and now both have solid chances of taking home Offensive Rookie of the Year.
If one of the former Iowa football tight ends took home the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, it would be yet another notch in the belt for a program that prides itself on being Tight End U, regardless of what ESPN seems to think.
More often than not though, rookie tight ends struggle their first year in the league. Like wide receivers, the development is often a bit longer from a pass-catching standpoint due to a more complex route tree and offensive schemes, and then you have to factor in the blocking. Many tight ends coming out of college need to work heavily on their blocking at the next level.
While I expect TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant to not suffer as much as your typical first-round tight end because of the offensive scheme and emphasis on blocking in the Iowa football program, that concern is legitimate.
It sounds like Bovada Sports has tepid optimism about these two tight ends as well.
As it stands today, TJ Hockenson has the 10th best odds to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award behind two quarterbacks, four wide receivers, and three running backs. The actual odds are +2500 meaning for every $1 you bet, you get $25 back.
Noah Fant, on the other hand, has slightly worse odds, but still not bad coming in at 16th right in front of his teammate Drew Lock and behind four more wide receivers and one running back. His odds are +3500 meaning for every $1 you bet, you get $35 back.
Earlier this offseason, we gave our three reasons why TJ Hockenson could win Offensive Rookie of the Year and three reasons why Noah Fant could win Offensive Rookie of the Year, but we now have much more data in front of us, most notably the start of training camp.
So far, it appears TJ Hockenson is rocking it in Detroit and has been a fast learner. Similarly, Noah Fant has been doing well in camp but has yet to overtake Jeff Heuerman for the top tight end spot on the depth chart.
As I have been saying for a while, a lot can happen in training camp both positively or negatively, but at this point given those ridiculous odds, it may be worth the risk to put a few bucks down. At this point, Kyler Murray and, in my opinion, David Montgomery, are the front runners for the award but both have big asterisks behind them. Murray’s offensive line is pathetic and rookie quarterbacks typically struggle to adjust while David Montgomery has to share carries with Tarik Cohen.