Has the NFL season started yet? No. Has the Hall of Fame game even been played yet? Nope. Does that mean it’s the perfect time to predict who is going to win the end-of-season awards? Obviously!
There are plenty of Buckeyes in the NFL to look forward to watching this season. The player in particular that I will have my eyes on will be Garrett Wilson. I am a Jets fan, so I will be watching him each week anyway, but I am really excited to see how he follows his rookie campaign. Wilson won Offensive Rookie of the Year last season (which I predicted in Week 2 on this site; pretty proud of myself), so there are a lot of expectations on him for this season.
It’s shaping up to be a pretty good football season for me. The Jets should actually be good this year, and Wilson is going to play a major role in their success. Clearly, the main factor here is that New York traded for Aaron Rodgers, a future Hall-of-Famer and the leader this team desperately needed at quarterback.
Wilson’s season in 2022 was even more impressive once you think about who he had throwing to him. Zach Wilson had seven interceptions and six touchdowns, Mike White had four interceptions and three touchdowns and Joe Flacco had five touchdowns and three interceptions. What a dumpster fire at the QB position.
Despite all of this, Garrett Wilson had 1,103 yards on 83 receptions and four touchdowns. He certainly was the offense’s bright spot, besides fellow rookie Breece Hall, a running back out of Iowa State. So, just imagine what Wilson can do with a competent QB throwing to him —more than competent, one of the all time greats!
Right now, Wilson is tied for the eighth-best odds to take home the OPOY trophy. As of late, it has become a non-quarterback award. In three of the past four years, receivers have won it, and in the year they didn’t it was a running back. A quarterback hasn’t won it since Patrick Mahomes in 2018.
At the top of the list with the best odds is Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase, and last year’s winner, Vikings WR Justin Jefferson. These guys have proven themselves to be some of the top receivers in the league, but Wilson isn’t too far behind them. In fact, Wilson had more receiving yards than Chase last season!
So, does Wilson really have a shot at winning this award? I think a lot of it depends on how well Rodgers plays this season. He is coming off one of his worst seasons of his career, albeit, he played with a broken thumb, so it will be interesting to see how he bounces back this year, especially with a new team. However, being reunited with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, along with bringing some of his weapons he had in Green Bay with him, definitely shouldn’t hurt.
I anticipate Rodgers having a great year, therefore Wilson should have one too. Rodgers health is a concern, as he is 39 years old, so hopefully he can remain injury-free for the entirety of the season.
So, if this duo can stay healthy and play to their potential, I truly don’t see any reason why Wilson wouldn’t be in the conversation to win OPOY. The hype surrounding the Jets this season I think is deserved, and Wilson is going to have to go out there and prove it. He had no trouble doing so at Ohio State, so I don’t think he is going to start now.