The NFL will announce its Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year award winners on Feb. 8 at the NFL Honors show, and two Rams players are hoping to hear their names called. Puka Nacua is up for Offensive Rookie of the Year after a historic first season in the league, while Kobie Turner is a top candidate for the defensive award thanks to his nine sacks, which led all rookies.
Unfortunately, news that came out on Tuesday could indicate neither Rams rookie will win their respective award.
The Pro Football Writers of America announced that C.J. Stroud has been voted its Offensive Rookie of the Year and Will Anderson Jr. was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year. The PFWA awards aren’t the ones officially recognized by the NFL like the Associated Press’ are, but it’s a bad sign for Nacua and Turner if history is any indication of who will win the AP awards.
Since 1990, there have only been three instances where the AP and PFWA didn’t award Offensive Rookie of the Year to the same player.
1992: Carl Pickens (AP) Jason Hanson, Lions
The same goes for the defensive side of the ball. Since 1990, there have only been three years where the AP and PFWA didn’t pick the same Defensive Rookie of the Year.
2004: Jonathan Vilma (AP), Dunta Robinson (PFWA)
Does that mean Nacua and Turner can’t win the AP’s Rookie of the Year awards? Of course not. They still have a chance to, but the odds are against them after seeing who members of the PFWA voted for.
Nacua would be the runaway favorite in most years after setting rookie records for receiving yards and receptions. He’s certainly been the most productive rookie in the NFL, but Stroud plays a more valuable position and was a focal point of a team that completely turned things around in his first season.
On defense, it’s a much closer race between Turner, Anderson and Jalen Carter. It’s also a more subjective debate because it won’t come down to just numbers. There’s more to a defensive player’s impact than simply tackles and sack totals. That being said, Turner led all rookies with nine sacks and had 50 pressures, which is tied with Carter for the most among rookie defensive tackles.
We only have to wait a couple more weeks to find out if Nacua or Turner will win these coveted awards from the Associated Press.