On Wednesday morning, the 2022 AP Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year Finalists were released. Three offensive and three defensive finalists were named, neither of which included any players from the New Orleans Saints.
The three offensive finalists were QB Brock Purdy (SF), WR Garrett Wilson (NYJ) and RB Kenneth Walker III (SEA).
New Orleans Saints rookie wide receiver Chris Olave was not included as a finalist.
The AP’s announcement this morning has been met with notable skepticism from the New Orleans fanbase and beyond. But is the skepticism backed by the numbers?
With all due respect to Brock Purdy, he only started 7 games this season. #Saints WR Chris Olave for example, played 15 games and reached 1,042 yards as a rookie WR playing with mostly Andy Dalton. How does Purdy get the nod over Olave.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 25, 2023
*Awards will be announced on Feb 9th.
Olave undoubtedly had a very impressive rookie season, as did the finalists who were elected. Let’s look at Olave in comparison to Wilson.
Olave recorded 1,042 yards this season in 15 games - second most amongst rookie receivers. Wilson recorded 1,103 yards through 17 games - the most amongst rookie receivers. However, Olave finished the year with 69.5 yards per game compared to Wilson’s 64.9. Both Olave and Wilson recorded four touchdowns.
Kenneth Walker III also had a very impressive rookie campaign, finishing in the top 15 for rushing yards this season (1,050). He also recorded nine touchdowns on the year in 15 games.
Brock Purdy, unlike the three aforementioned players, did not play a full season. However, in his nine games, two of which were postseason, he recorded 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. An impressive stint, especially given his circumstances.
However, should special circumstances be a deciding factor for awards like these? Should the fact that Purdy was “Mr. Irrelevant” and overcame incredible odds overshadow the remarkable and historic season that Chris Olave had?
Chris Olave— NOF (@nofnetwork) January 25, 2023
14.5 yards per reception
1 Rookie of the Year finalist snubbing pic.twitter.com/8wZCyj8Vh0
Purdy has had an amazing season. There is no doubt that his feat to become the starting quarterback for a hot San Francisco team is remarkable. However, it feels as if Purdy’s nomination was more of a “fill in the gaps” pick based on the theoretical concept of him being a starter for the whole year.
Regardless of this award, Olave’s season should be remembered as one of the best seasons by a Saints rookie in the history of the franchise. The future is bright for the former Ohio State Buckeye.