The Bears came away with a solid haul of rookies in the 2020 NFL draft that should make an impact in the upcoming regular season. Unfortunately for those rookies, bettors don’t see that impact resulting in any hardware.
Experts give the Bears’ two second-round selections, Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet and Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson, difficult odds to take home the 2020 NFL Offensive or Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, respectively.
The opening Rookie of the Year odds aren’t terribly optimistic for the Bears’ newest additions. Jaylon Johnson finds his odds just outside the top-20 for DROY at +3050, on average, which equates to a 3.2% probability. Cole Kmet’s Offensive ROY futures at +10000 (less than a 1% chance).
For those looking for another Bears rookie to bet on, fifth-round edge rusher Trevis Gipson was listed as having +9000 odds as of April 1—the 48th-best odds on the board.
Given the history of winners of the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, Kmet faces incredibly tall odds: a tight end hasn’t won the award since 1973. In fact, a kicker has won the award more recently than a tight end has: Jason Hanson won it with the Lions in 1992. Rookie tight ends aren’t known for putting up flashy numbers, so expecting Kmet to break that trend could be a bit unrealistic.
History has been kinder to cornerbacks, as the likes of Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Peters have been named Defensive Rookie of the Year in recent seasons. However, the bar to win the award for a cornerback is high: of the past five corners to win the award, four of them made it to the Pro Bowl in the rookie seasons. While Johnson’s chances are admittedly higher than those of Kmet, he also faces stiff competition to win the award, including Chase Young, Isaiah Simmons, and fellow cornerbacks Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson.
Regardless of whether they win any awards their rookie years, Kmet and Johnson should provide noticeable improvements at their respective positions over what was previously on the Bears’ roster before the draft. It would not be surprising to see both of them putting together solid seasons.