Apparently, they’re not alone.
The Bovada gaming book out of Las Vegas has come out with the betting odds for who will be the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year and Cook is getting his fair share of respect, being ranked fourth with 8:1 odds.
As would be expected, the two running backs taken in the first eight picks – Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette (Pick No. 4 overall) and Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey (No. 8) – have the lowest odds. Fournette is tops with 7:2 odds, followed by McCaffrey at 5:1.
Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson (No. 12 overall) is next at 6:1, followed by Cook and Tennessee wide receiver Corey Davis (No. 5 overall) at 8:1.
Other players who were given individual betting odds included Cleveland quarterback DeShone Kizer (No. 52), Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon (No. 48), Green Bay running back Jamaal Williams (No. 134), Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (No. 7) – all listed at 12:1 to win the Offensive R.O.Y.
At 14:1 is Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky – yet another signal that the Bears overshot and gave up too much for a rookie with just 13 college starts and a loss to basketball powerhouse (football, not so much) Duke on his resume.
Tampa Bay tight end and hand-delivered gift to Tampa Bay O.J. Howard (No. 19) is 16:1.
Three players – Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt (No. 86), Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes (No. 10) and Carolina Swiss Army Knife Curtis Samuel (No. 40) – are all listed at 20:1.
The only other two players given individual betting odds – Giants tight end Evan Engram (No. 23) and Buffalo wide receiver Zay Jones (No. 37) – checked in at 25:1.
When Las Vegas lays betting odds on players, it is done based upon the expectation of the role those players are going to have in their offense. For the players in front of Cook, the reasons for their inclusion are obvious. Two running backs taken in the top eight picks are clearly expected to have significant roles in their respective offense, and Watson is the only of the three first-round quarterbacks that is expected to have a good chance of being the Day 1 starter with the Texans – given his primary competition is Tom Savage, Watson will be given every opportunity to win the starting job in the preseason.
The respect shown to Cook is impressive and clearly indication that the expectation for the boys in Vegas is that Latavius Murray may be a goal-line sniper, but Cook is going to have a big role in the Vikings offense and that his ability to make explosive plays will be on display early and often in 2017.
As with any preseason gambling, the numbers being thrown out are speculation, but they’re speculation for a reason and the numbers would appear to be anticipating big numbers from Cook – enough to make him one of the frontrunners to walk away with the Rookie of the Year trophy.