Just like with most of the other teams in the NFL, it’s the Bills’ first-rounders - quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds - who are the rookies on the team with legitimate shots at coming away with the respective offensive and defensive Rookie of the Year awards. The last Bill to take home DROY was linebacker Kiko Alonso in 2013, while quarterback Dennis Shaw was the last Bill to win the offensive award back in 1970.
Here’s why Allen or Edmunds, or potentially both, could come away with hardware in 2018.
The case for Allen
Allen’s boom-or-bust potential has been talked about ad nauseam for months now, but make no mistake about it, it’s this factor that gives him a strong chance to capture OROY honors.
The six-foot-five, 237-pound athletic specimen is often compared to Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers, 2011’s offensive winner. Aside from both men possessing large physical statures, one of the reasons Allen is compared to the former MVP is because both are perceived as having ball placement and accuracy issues. With that said though, Allen is believed to have a really, really strong arm - one with rare throwing power.
Obviously for Allen to win the award he’s got to become the Bills’ starter pretty early on in the season, but that’s a definite possibility given that the competition for the job will likely come down to him and AJ McCarron, who has made just three career starts in three seasons in the league. Another potential obstacle standing in Allen’s way is the Bills’ current crop of unappealing receivers. Conversely, though, having a do-it-all back like LeSean McCoy, should be a big help to Allen and help develop a level of comfort as NFL quarterback.
Online sports wagering Bovada list Allen has having the third-best odds (+850) at winning Rookie of the Year, while Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants (+150) and Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns (+275) check in at first and second, respectively. Allen, however, is favored to start more games than any of his fellow 2018 first-round QBs, with an over-under of 10.5.
The case for Edmunds
At just 20 years old, Edmunds is a year or two younger than most of his fellow rookies, but he definitely possesses a grown man’s body and has had plenty of game experience having made 29 starts for Virginia Tech. You just don’t see his combination of size (6’5”, 253 lbs.) and speed (4.54 40-yard dash) often in other linebackers. No doubt about it, Edmunds is an athletic freak.
The way the roster is shaping up right now, Edmunds will likely take over the inside linebacker spot occupied by former Bill and now-Cincinnati Bengal, Preston Brown, in 2017. Playing in Bills head coach Sean McDermott’s defensive scheme a year ago, Brown finished the campaign tied for the league lead in tackles. With how much Brown was able to thrive under McDermott, who coached multiple-time Pro Bowlers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis of the Panthers for several seasons prior to his arrival in Buffalo, imagine the results that he may potentially be able to help Edmunds achieve.
*Note: No odds for defensive Rookie of the Year were available at the time this article was published.