The Kansas City Chiefs knew they were drafting a talented offensive lineman in Creed Humphrey with the 63rd overall selection on April 30. Eight months later, the former Oklahoma standout is tabbed as the best center in the NFL. Since his first snap as a Chief, Humphrey has been the most consistent offensive player on the Chiefs and has played at a very high level.
At this rate, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind who follows this sport closely that Humphrey should receive consideration for the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Unfortunately, Humphrey won’t win for the sole fact that offensive linemen never receive the honor.
Ever since 1967, the first year the Offensive Rookie of the Year award was handed out, the award has only gone to players who play quarterback, running back, fullback, or wide receiver. Surprisingly, a tight end has never received the award. But offensive linemen hardly ever get consideration for the award.
Chiefs center Creed Humphrey absolutely deserves to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
For those unfamiliar with the voting process for the NFL Associated Press awards, there are usually 50 voters who vote for MVP, Coach of the Year, and several other awards. Voting takes place when the regular season ends and is revealed later. Since 2011, the NFL reveals the winners during the NFL Honors, which is held the night before the Super Bowl.
Since 2005, only nine offensive linemen have received votes for Offensive Rookie of the Year, combining for 30.5 votes received. Here is a quick look at those nine offensive linemen who received votes, where they finished in the voting, and who won the award that year.
- 2018: Colts G Quenton Nelson, two votes, finished 3/3 (Giants RB Saquon Barkley won)
- 2014: Cowboys G Zack Martin, seven votes, finished 2/3 (Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. won)
- 2013: Lions G Larry Warford, one vote, finished 3/5 in a three-way tie (Packers RB Eddie Lacy won)
- 2010: Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey, two votes, finished 3/3 (Rams QB Sam Bradford won)
- 2009: Ravens G Michael Oher, six votes, finished 2/5 (Vikings WR Percy Harvin won)
- 2008: Broncos T Ryan Clady, two votes, finished 3/4 (Falcons QB Matt Ryan won)
- 2007: Browns LT Joe Thomas, 3.5 votes, finished 2/2 (Vikings RB Adrian Peterson won)
- 2006: Chargers T Marcus McNeill, six votes, finished 4/5 (Titans QB Vince Young won)
- 2005: Patriots G Logan Mankins, one vote, finished 2/4 in a three-way tie (Buccaneers RB Cadillac Williams won)
As you can see, offensive linemen have an uphill battle because they hardly receive any votes. At this time none of the Vegas odds sites have Humphrey as a candidate to even receive consideration to win the award. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and Steelers running back Najee Harris are the top candidates.
Yes, players at those positions are more recognizable because they make plays and accumulate statistics. Jones is a favorable name because of his position and given the storyline with him in New England. There’s no credit being taken away from Jones. It’s simply that Humphrey has been playing better since the season kicked off.
Although Humphrey has played at a high level since Week 1, unfortunately, the reality is that the voters don’t pay close attention to offensive linemen. As a former PFWA writer and voter, I understand the difficulty of paying attention to the position and trying to figure out who the best offensive linemen are. How many of the voters actually watch every single snap of every single NFL game? Probably none. And even if any of them did, do they focus closely on offensive linemen?
Although most of those voters will claim that they do, they really don’t and it shows in their voting history. Offensive linemen don’t get the glory despite doing a lot of the leg work. Unless you are signed up and pay a website that provides premium metrics, statistics for offensive linemen are not available on popular sports websites like ESPN or the league’s official site. That may have a hand as to why offensive linemen don’t get much attention for these kinds of awards (and sometimes bad offensive linemen get voted to the Pro Bowl).
Don’t be discouraged by Humphrey not receiving the award. Expect it to go to Jones, Harris, or Chase. But don’t let that convince you that they were the best offensive rookie from start to finish. Assuming he continues playing like this the rest of the regular season, Humphrey is the one who has played well since the first snap, and that is why he should be the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.