Two Teammates winning Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year
New York Jets rookies Garrett Wilson and Sauce Gardner have a chance to write history. They are on pace to win offensive rookie of the year and defensive rookie of the year as teammates. It is a rare accomplishment which has only been done twice.
Who Has Done It Before?
The Detroit Lions were the first team to win both offensive and defensive rookie of the year back in 1967 which was the first year those awards were given out. The recipients were Lem Barney and Mel Farr. The New Orleans Saints also accomplished this back in 2017 with Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore.
More Historic for Wilson
If Wilson and Gardner can both win, they would be the third pair of teammates to win the award. However, Wilson would be the first wide receiver to win with a teammate. Farr and Kamara were running backs. Also, wide receivers rarely win offensive rookie of the year as only two of the last ten winners were wide receivers.
Both Top-Ten Picks
Wilson and Gardner were both top-ten picks. Gardner was selected fourth overall and Wilson was taken 10th overall.
Jets Teammate Could Witness Deja Vu
Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins was on the Saints when Kamara and Lattimore won, and now he is teammates with Wilson and Gardner who could win. Rankins mentioned it was special to watch to see his Saints teammates win and admitted it was crazy to potentially see his Jets teammates do the same thing.
Sauce Gardner Competition
Gardner is currently the favorite to win defensive rookie of the year, however he has some tough competition. He is competing with former fifth round pick and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen. Woolen has 35 tackles on the year, six interceptions which is tied for the lead league, and 12 passes defended.
Why Gardner Deserves the Award
Woolen is a great player and definitely deserves to be talked about and in the conversation. However, Gardner deserves the award. Gardner has 33 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 15 passes defended which is the league lead. Also, Gardner is a lockdown cornerback who is one of the best cornerbacks in coverage in the league.
Garrett Wilson Competition
Three players are in competition with Wilson for offensive rookie of the year. One of them is another Seahawks player in running back Kenneth Walker III. Walker III was 649 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. His nine touchdowns ranks him tied for fifth in the league. The other player in that competition is Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson. Watson has 25 receptions for 401 yards and seven touchdowns. Watson was a late bloomer as he did not break out until the game against the Dallas Cowboys on November 13. Another player to watch out for is Saints wide receiver Chris Olave. Olave 60 receptions for 887 yards and three touchdowns.
Why Wilson Deserves the Award
Garrett Wilson has had an up-and-down season but that is due to him playing with three different quarterbacks. As a rookie, it has been difficult to gain chemistry with his quarterback since he has had three different starters. However, Wilson has still balled out as he has 57 receptions for 790 yards and four touchdowns. In the five games he has played without quarterback Zach Wilson, he has averaged 94.2 yards per game. That pace over a 17 game season would be 1,601 receiving yards.
One More Accomplishment
As nice it would be to win both offensive and defensive rookie of the year, the Jets need to focus on the bigger picture. The Jets have not made the playoffs since 2010 and are looking to snap that drought. The Jets are currently in the playoffs holding the seventh seed.
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