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NFL Rookie of Year Breakdown

By Robert Ferringo

Here is a breakdown of the 16 first-year players with the best (and worst) shot at winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award this season. The odds reflect those posted at Sportsbook.com:

First-and-Goal These are the players that I feel are in the best position, and at the right odds, to win the ROY trophy:

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina (+800) - You could have had him at +2500 directly after the draft, and that's why futures bets can be so lucrative. Williams still offers the best odds on the board because he fits the pathology perfectly: running back, first-round pick, and an opportunity to start for a playoff team. He will begin as DeShaun Foster's backup, but once Fragile Foster goes down Williams will be front-and-center.

Laurence Maroney, RB, New England (+700) - I'm not thrilled with the odds, but Maroney is in a similar situation to Williams. Corey Dillon is on the downside and Maroney is a very talented first-round back with a chance to contribute for a winner.

LenDale White, RB, Tennessee (+500) - I don't love the odds here considering White begins third on the depth chart behind Chris Brown and Travis Henry. However, if Brown's trade demands are met, White's chances improve.

Chad Jackson, WR, New England (+1500) - Fantastic odds for a player that many thought was the best wideout in the draft. If he can keep from being mesmerized by Tom Brady's dreaminess, the speedy deep threat has a good chance.

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Second-and-Short These are my sleepers: four players on good teams that will have an opportunity to make an impact.

Sinorice Moss, WR, New York Giants (+2000) - The mercurial Moss has the added bonus of playing in Hype Heaven, where tying his shoes correctly could land him on the front page. He has a chance to put up serious numbers in a high-octane offense, and could electrify as a punt returner as well.

Maurice Drew, RB, Jacksonville (+2200) - Fred Taylor isn't as injury-prone as people make him out to be. However, he is approaching 31 and entering his ninth year. Drew could find himself starting behind a rough and rugged offensive line.

Jerious Norwood, RB, Atlanta (+3500) - The Falcons want to trade T.J. Duckett, which would leave Norwood as the No. 2 back. Warrick Dunn is nearly 32 and in his 10th season, meaning Norwood could be thrust into a starring role for a power running team.

Brian Calhoun, RB, Detroit (+4000) - You never know when Mad Mike Martz could employ some random and bizarre offensive scheme that lines Calhoun up as a quarterback on one snap or tight end on the next. Who knows? But it may be worth taking a $10 or $50 flier on Calhoun, especially if Kevin Jones gets hurt.

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Third-and-Long These chalk picks and heavy favorites face much stiffer odds than it appears.

Reggie Bush, RB, New Orleans (+200) - Odds are way too low for a guy who isn't even a starter. He is electrifying and the Saints will try to get him a lot of touches. But it is also increasingly likely that he will hold out, which won't endear him to fans or voters.

Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis (+500) - Tony Dungy is incredibly conservative, and will likely stick with veterans Dominic Rhodes and James Mungro. Also, I expect Peyton Manning to go back to being pass-wacky again his season.

Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco (+800) - No tight end has ever won the award. Even though Davis is a freak, the 49ers are going to be terrible again this season. Also, Eric Johnson could split the TE snaps with the rook.

Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay (+1500) - Don't feel bad if you didn't know who he was. Best case scenario for Jennings has him as the No. 3 wideout on a putrid team. This is a sucker bet.

Fourth-and-Forever These four guys may or may not have solid seasons, but none of them are going to be the ROY.

Santonio Holmes, WR, Pittsburgh (+500) - Being involved in a domestic violence case generally isn't good for the Q-Rating. Oh, and did I mention that he's a wideout in Pittsburgh?

Jason Avant, WR, Philadelphia (+1500) - He will see a lot of action, but no wideout sees a lot of balls in the Eagles offense.

Vince Young, QB, Tennessee (+1500) - Young will likely spend more time at Graceland than he will under center for the Titans. Jeff Fisher eased Steve McNair into the starting lineup and will likely take the same approach with Young.

Mercedes Lewis, TE, St. Louis (+1800) - Like Davis, he faces the fact that no tight end has ever won the award. But Lewis also has the added burden of competing for catches with Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail him at robert@docsports.com.

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