When it comes to the 2011 NFL Draft, all we can do is speculate. Who is going to be taken No. 1? Where will stars like Cam Newton, A.J. Green and Blaine Gabbert end up? What will the Dallas Cowboys do to rebound from last season?
All the experts can do is guess. So, with all the presumptions going on around the NFL, in articles and message boards across the country, why not take it a step further? Let’s jump past the draft. Hell, let’s jump past training camp, the preseason and the 2011 NFL season altogether! It’s time to go big or go home, and name the 2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Let's break things down. Since 1990, 16 of the 21 Offensive Rookie of the Year winners have been drafted in the first round. Three in the second round. So it’s safe to assume that this year’s trophy holder will be going in the top 50.
Beyond that, since 1990, 13 winners have been running backs. And in the last seven years, four recipients have been quarterbacks.
The first round of the 2011 NFL draft looks to be centered around building defenses. The top 32 is full of defensive ends and linebackers, especially.
To view a prediction of 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, visit http://bleacherreport.com/articles/676300-2011-nfl-draft-predicting-the-2011-nfl-defensive-rookie-of-the-year
So the list of likely Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates is slim.
2,550 yards, 12 TDs, 16 INTs, 650 yards rushing, five rushing TDs
Selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, Newton will be the first step in revamping a dilapidated system. With DeAngelo Williams out of the picture, Newton's supporting system is slim with one stand out receiver and a running back with no experience carrying a full workload.
Newton puts up decent numbers, much better than the rookie he is replacing. Newton alone scores more offensive touchdowns than the entire Carolina Panthers offense last season. However, he fails to improve the Panther's record and misses out on the award.
3,050 yards, 15 TDs, 18 INTs
Gabbert is going into a much better organized system than Newton. With offensive weapons already in place, Gabbert should perform relatively well. He leads his team to a 6-10 record and improves the statistics of everyone performing around him. However, with no supporting running game and a less than impressive offensive line, he is unable to completely turn the Cardinals around.
2,400 yards, 13 TDs, 13 INTs
Selected in the second round, Ponder is brought into a struggling system that still has some talent around him. With a talented start up tight end, veteran receiver Chad Ochocinco, first-round pick A.J. Green and a solid running game, Ponder helps lead the Bengals to an 8-8 record, doubling their victories from last year.
He is held back primarily by a lack of offensive line, setting the rookie season record of sacks.
60 receptions, 775 yards, six TDs
A.J. Green is one of the best receivers to come into the league in the last 10 years. However, he will be working with a rookie quarterback this year and will not put up stellar numbers. That's not to say that he will not have a great impact.
Behind the tutelage of Chad Johnson, A.J. Green leads the team in receiving touchdowns and is a large part in their comeback campaign.
75 receptions, 900 yards, six TDs
On a team that can't seem to figure out its offensive identity, Torrey Smith arrives as a breath of fresh air. He instantly emerges as Jay Cutler's favorite target and leads the team in yardage and touchdowns.
Chicago ends up with a 6-10 season, taking second to the Green Bay Packers, due mostly in part to the addition of Smith.
680 yards, five TDs
New Orleans was touch-and-go last season at running back with Pierre Thomas out with an injury and inconsistent play from Chris Ivory and Julius Jones. With running back as a top priority, they take the hard-running Williams in the second round.
His tough running game allows New Orleans to go back to what it does best, open up the field.
850 yards, seven TDs
Daniel Thomas is the brightest running back in this class. While higher ranked running backs are taken by teams and are used in a carousel RB system, Daniel Thomas emerges as the primary ball carrier for a team that struggled mightily on the ground last season.
Thomas is heavily considered for the prize for turning around such a lacking run game and for helping Green Bay once again advance far into the playoffs.
70 receptions, 1,100 yards, seven TDs
Ladies and gentlemen, I present your 2011 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Despite teaming up with a sophomore quarterback, Julio Jones leads all rookie receivers in yardage, amassing over 1,000 yards in his rookie season. His addition to the pass game takes pressure off of Colt McCoy and forces defenses to move off of the line creating room for running back Peyton Hillis.
Jones's impressive hands, leaping ability, speed, strength and blocking push him to the top of the list. While his team continues to struggle, Julio Jones is a building block that will propel the Browns to the top of the AFC in coming years.
He is your 2011 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Thanks for the read. To check out who is listed to be the 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, visit http://bleacherreport.com/articles/676300-2011-nfl-draft-predicting-the-2011-nfl-defensive-rookie-of-the-year.