The 2019 NFL Draft changed the makeup and outlook of many franchises. Strong drafts have taken teams like the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets from zeroes to legitimate wild-card contenders. But this isn’t an overall breakdown about who drafted every position the best. This is about the meat and potatoes, the brass tacks, the guys on offense who are going to put the ball in the end zone. For this article, I’ll be taking a look at the league’s strongest contenders for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Top Candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year
There’s a good chance Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown will be a strong contender for Offensive ROTY. Lamar Jackson’s lack of throwing the ball may make you weary to choose Brown for this award, and I understand. Last season, Jackson didn’t attempt 30 passes in any game, playoffs or regular season. Jackson has already gone on record saying he plans to pass upwards of 30 times per game. With the departure of Michael Crabtree and John Brown, this a golden opportunity for Marquise Brown to step in. At Oklahoma, Brown totaled nearly 2,500 yards, averaged over 18 yards per reception, and scored 17 touchdowns over his two seasons. With lack of production in their wide receiving corps, Brown can make a name for himself and become the first wide receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014 to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is someone I can easily see taking home this award. With Doug Martin recently being placed on the injured reserve list, even more of the rushing burden falls upon Jacobs. While Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington are slated to be in the backfield as well, they’re more effective as receivers than as pure running backs. Jacobs’ great field vision and power when running solidify him as the Raiders top rushing threat. At Alabama, Jacobs averaged 5.9 yards per carry, racked up over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and scored 21 touchdowns, rushing for 16 of them. Now of course if he wants to put up these numbers, he’ll need protection. Raiders’s general manager Mike Mayock has helped bolster the offensive line by acquiring Trent Brown and Richie Incognito. The Raiders offensive line played extremely poor last season but could be a top 12 unit once the season gets rolling. If the offensive line can play just above-decent football, you can expect Jacobs to steamroll a lot of defenses and be a finalist for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Perhaps the safest bet you could make to win this award would be first overall draft pick, Kyler Murray. Of all the quarterbacks drafted this past year, Murray is likely the only one going to start all 16 regular-season games. Not only that, he’s entering a situation tailor-made for him. The Arizona Cardinals don’t have a great offensive line, but there’s plenty else to ensure his success. The recent acquisition of Michael Crabtree, combined with Larry Fitzgerald and second-year receiver Christian Kirk gives Murray several options. And this is without mentioning the great catching-back that David Johnson is. Additionally, the Cardinals have paired Murray with an offensive-minded coach in Kliff Kingsbury, who’s sure to unleash his potential. The one attribute that really sets Murray apart from other players drafted is his dual-threat capabilities. His skill set will provide him and his team more scoring opportunities, more yardage, and likely more wins as well. The Cardinals won’t be playoff bound anytime soon, but they’ve forged the perfect environment to help Murray. I expect him to thrive and most likely win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.