As we covered the defensive rookies of the 2019 NFL Draft class last week, this week we cover the offensive rookies. And the pool of potential Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates is pretty large. There are some freak athletes on the offensive side of the ball as well. And they have been balling out! Let’s take a look at some of the top offensive rookies this season.
The Washington Redskins are having a season to forget. But the team’s rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin is having a season to remember statistics-wise. And after seven games, the rookie wideout from Ohio State has put up impressive numbers. He currently has 28 receptions for 458 yards, and 5 touchdowns. To put that in perspective he leads all rookie wideouts in all three of those categories. Although there is some instability at quarterback in the Redskins’ locker room, McLaurin needs to keep the productivity up no matter who is behind center. If McLaurin can keep it up and surpass 1,000 yards receiving, he should have a great shot at winning offensive ROTY.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew already has a cult following on the internet. He has been the subject of numerous memes and urban legends. He has a distinc look that includes an unforgettable mustache. But other than all that he is playing some solid football. There was a moment when the Jaguars season looked as though it might be completely lost. Nick Foles the newly acquired quarterback (and former Super Bowl MVP) got injured in just the first game of the season. But Minshew has proven his worth so far keeping the Jaguars afloat at a 4-4 record thus far. He is sitting at second in yards passing for rookies with 1,976. But he is only 12 yards behind first place.
Foles is set to return in Week 11. And there could possibly be a quarterback controversy then. However, if Minshew keeps the starting job and keeps playing at the rate he is playing at, there is a very solid argument for him winning offensive ROTY.
The Oakland Raiders were frequently called in the first-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Due to wheeling and dealing they ended up with three picks in the first-round. With the 24th overall pick in the draft they selected running back Josh Jacobs from Alabama. While taking a running back in the first round can be quite a gamble, this one seems to have paid off. Jacobs leads all rookies in rushing through seven games with 620 yards. Just to put that in perspective he is 254 yards ahead of the number two rookie rusher. And to further put that in perspective he is fifth overall in the league in yards rushing. He’s not only the best rookie running back, he’s also one of the best running backs in the league as a whole.
Saquon Barkley won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2018 rushing for 1,307 yards. So, for Jacobs to end up with the award this year he’d have to finish pretty close to that mark. But if he continues at his current pace, he could very well have over 1,400 yards rushing!
Coming in at the tail end of the list, which just to clarify is not in any specific order, is the number one overall pick. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma is, for NFL standards, a smaller guy. But he’s putting up big numbers. Through eight games he currently leads all rookies with 1,988 yards passing. He also has 279 yards rushing which puts him at fifth overall for rookies in that category. He combines a great arm with the speed and versatility to be a threat out of the pocket as well. While the yardage looks great, he has only thrown seven touchdowns with four interceptions. For Murray to get the ROTY award, he would have to up that touchdown total while keeping his interception count low. And there’s another half a season left to make that happen!
Numbers, Numbers, Numbers
As it stands now, none of the above players are on teams that look to be at the top of their respective divisions come January. So, the best way for each of them to succeed in becoming the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year would be to keep putting up numbers. They all have had success up to this point in the season, but there’s still another half-season of football to go. Will one of the aforementioned players take home the accolade come season’s end? Or will a dark horse emerge and steal it away? It’s the NFL, so anything is possible here!