NFL Rookie of the Year 2015-16: Award Candidates, Odds and Predictions

Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2016

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 17: Todd Gurley #30 of the St. Louis Rams and Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pose after exchanging jerseys after a game at the Edward Jones Dome on December 17, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

We've finally reached Super Bowl weekend, but before we enjoy the Denver Broncos against Carolina Panthers, the top NFL awards will be handed out on Saturday night. 

The fifth-annual NFL Honors awards show takes place in San Francisco and will be hosted by late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien. 

Among the honors handed out will be the AP Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards.

Here's a look at all the info you'll need to tune in to the event on Saturday night, followed by a breakdown of each rookie of the year race. 


NFL Honors TV Details

When: Saturday, Feb. 6, at 9 p.m. ET

TV: CBS (pre-show coverage on NFL Network at 8 p.m. ET)

Live StreamCBS All Access (subscription required)


Offensive Rookie of the Year

Top Candidates
PlayerPositionTeamNotable Stats
Todd GurleyRBRams1,294 Total YDs, 10 TDs
Jameis WinstonQBBuccaneers4,042 Pass YDs, 22 TD, 15 INT
Amari CooperWRRaiders72 REC, 1,070 YDs, 6 TDs
David JohnsonRBCardinals1,038 Total YDs, 12 TDs

All four candidates listed above received at least one first-place vote from's panel of analysts, but the race appears to come down to Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston. 

Former NFL wide receiver Nate Burleson was among those who voted in favor of Winston, stating he believes Winston was "undeniably the leader of that team as a rookie."

These types of awards typically favor quarterbacks, but the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year has actually gone to a non-quarterback in consecutive seasons. 

New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. won in 2014, preceded by Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy

Gurley appears to have the best odds of continuing the non-quarterback streak. 

Despite not making his first start until Week 4, Gurley still eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark and began his career with over 125 yards in each of his first four starts. 

While his performances sputtered toward the end of the season, those dominant early-season outings could carry Gurley to Rookie of the Year honors. 

Prediction: Gurley wins a close vote


Defensive Rookie of the Year

Top Candidates
PlayerPositionTeamNotable Stats
Marcus PetersCBChiefs8 int, 2 TD, 1 forced fumble
Ronald DarbyCBBills2 int, 68 tackles
Leonard WilliamsDLJets3 sacks, 63 tackles

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters can go ahead and make some room in the trophy case. 

On's team of analysts, every vote went in favor of Peters with the exception of two. 

Charley Casserly voted for New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams, while Colleen Wolfe gave the nod to Buffalo Bills cornerback Ronald Darby. 

Former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci was among those voting for Peters, stating there was "no chance the Chiefs rampage to 11 straight wins without Peters."

Despite the overwhelming support for Peters on the strength of his impressive stats, it's worth nothing that he did not fare as well in Pro Football Focus' grading.

PFF's Gordon McGuinness ranked their top defensive rookies, placing Peters fourth, behind Darby (their winner), Williams and Dallas Cowboys defensive back Byron Jones.  

Prediction: Peters wins in a landslide