The 2022-23 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY) race was a difficult one to parse because of thick competition and the lack of a star rookie quarterback. There were several star playmakers at running back and wide receiver who were more consistent producers than the two rookie passers who played a significant number of snaps: Kenny Pickett and Brock Purdy. That included Offensive Rookie of the Year winner Garrett Wilson.
Wilson was the second wide receiver selected in the 2022 NFL Draft behind Drake London. Both accumulated excellent seasons along with Chris Olave. However, the former Ohio State Buckeyes were most impressive. Running back Kenneth Walker III finished third despite ending the regular season as the betting favorite to win the honor.
Despite the impressive class of rookie contributors, Wilson saw his name etched into NFL history by outclassing his peers. Let’s dive into what it took for Wilson to become the first Jets player in franchise history to win the award.
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award: Garrett Wilson Named Winner for 2022-2023 Season
Wilson and Olave battled for the crown of being the best rookie wide receiver from Ohio State and the decision could’ve gone either way. It’s hard to argue that Wilson, who was the 10th overall pick wasn’t deserving. He was able to beat out Olave once more after being drafted one selection ahead of him.
With 83 receptions for 1,103 yards and four touchdowns in 17 games played, Wilson looked every bit of the immediate star he was expected to be. His skill set out of Ohio State was similar to Bills’ star receiver Stefon Diggs. The 6’0″, 192-pounder has elite quickness and speed, allowing him to run sharp routes and create separation with ease from defenders.
His production ebbed and flowed along with who was starting at quarterback for the embattled Jets. There may not have been a team with a worse QB situation than the Jets as they cycled through Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, and Mike White as starters in 16 games. None of the passers were able to complete even 59% of their attempts despite the impressive young talent around them.
Outside of Wilson’s complete ineptitude, Wilson was a dominant force when the quarterback position wasn’t holding him back. He finished the season with three 100-yard games and an additional five games with at least 78 yards. Some of his best games came against top competition, including Cleveland, New England, Buffalo, and Miami.
Though Wilson had one less first-place vote than Walker, he finished with a 156-129 edge in the total voting. It helped he totaled the 15th-most receiving yards despite the unit’s limitations and the fact he set the franchise record for rookie receiving yards. He led all rookies with 411 yards after the catch and was second among all receivers with 22 forced missed tackles.
There’s real potential for Wilson to become a leading NFL receiver even next season. He was up-and-down in production as a rookie but only due to the quarterback’s struggles. Adding someone like Aaron Rodgers or even Jimmy Garoppolo to the unit will only enhance Wilson’s developmental pace.