Offensive Rookie Of The Year Race Heating Up

by Travis Pulver
October 1st 2019, 2:17pm

When the 2019 NFL season began, the Offensive Rookie of the Year race was supposed to be between Kyler Murray and everyone else—but not anymore. Four games into the season it is safe to say there are quite a few rookies, including Murray, that are playing well.

Could their seasons be award-worthy? We will not find out the answer to that question for a few more months. But the odds on who will win have certainly gotten a bit tighter.

Offensive Rookie Winner

So—who is going to win it?

Narrowing The Field

Dwayne Haskins has played in two quarters so far; he’s not in the running. D.K. Metcalf, Deebo Samuel, Devin Singletary, T.J. Hockenson, Mecole Hardman, Darrell Henderson, and A.J. Brown have all made some good plays. But none of them have done enough to warrant anyone putting any money down on them just yet.

From how much each of them is available/being used, it is hard to say if they will get the opportunity to do enough to warrant serious consideration.  However, the other remaining players from the above list are another matter.

It is probably safe to eliminate Miles Sanders and David Montgomery, for now. Both are getting playing time and generating offense, but neither has done anything noteworthy yet. With the opportunities they have had, to be a serious contender, they need to have had a few signature moments—and they haven’t.

That leaves Washington Redskins receiver Terry McLaurin, Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, and a trio of quarterbacks—Gardner Minshew II, Kyler Murray, and Daniel Jones.

Historically Speaking

From a historical perspective, this award is a rare one in that it doesn’t tend to favor quarterbacks. Since the Associated Press started awarding it back in 1957, 40 of the winners have been running backs, and only eight have been quarterbacks. Wide receivers have even fared better than quarterbacks with nine.

Then again, it is easier for running backs and receivers to play as rookies and make an impact. It is easy for quarterbacks as well. But, while the other players on the field can minimize errors by running backs and receivers, mistakes by quarterbacks tend to get magnified.

The last two and four of the last six winners have been running backs; quarterbacks have won five of the last 11.

And The Winner Will Be…

Right now, the award is really up for grabs. Kyler Murray came in as the front runner because he was the No. 1 pick in the draft. While he has played well, he has yet to do anything remarkable (or even win a game).

Marquise Brown started off smoking hot, but with Lamar Jackson struggling to throw the last two weeks, his production has taken a big dip.

Josh Jacobs leads all rookie running backs in rushing yards and is ninth among all running backs. But he has yet to crack the 100-yard mark in a game and hasn’t made it back to the endzone since Week One.

Terry McLaurin is a surprise contender but appears to be the primary receiver for the Redskins. So, if he can just find a quarterback that can throw him the ball, he may have a real shot. But his chances will hinge on the two best rookie quarterbacks faltering as the season goes on.

Daniel Jones has become the front runner after leading the Giant to a come from behind win over the Buccaneers and beating the Redskins. While his game has been good, he is not without flaws; better defenses could take advantage of them in the weeks ahead.

But Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Garnder Minshew II has been the man for his team since Nick Foles went down in Week One. He isn’t exactly filling up the stat sheet, but he is doing what matters most— giving his team a chance to win.

However, his stat line to date is a good one—69.4 completion percentage, 905 yards, seven touchdowns, and just one interception.     

Minshew’s odds could fall off in the weeks ahead with games coming up against the Panthers and Saints. But if he wins both, his odds will get even shorter—so put your money down on Minshew before it’s too late.