By Keegan Hartman
Can you believe we’ve made it this far into the NFL season already? It seems like just yesterday we were watching the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers underperform in a pathetic, low scoring battle which led to a Green Bay Packers 10-3 win. Little did we know that the chemistry development between newly acquired Packers’ Head Coach Matt LeFleur and future NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Aaron Rodgers would lead to a 7-2 record through nine weeks. I didn’t even think of it to be possible to say the least, but that conversation is for a completely different day. No, no, no, the real reason that I am composing this wonderful piece of work is to simply highlight and to recognize some of the major productivity coming from the 2019 rookie class this season. It was an event I was fortunate enough to have attended, but I am completely shocked and astounded at the productivity this class managed to produce. From the man who has been deemed every quarterback’s nightmare, specifically in the NFC, being the younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers defensive end, Joey Bosa, and former Ohio State Buckeye as well Nick Bosa. And need we not forget the walking Uncle Rico starter kit who, for a while, took the league by storm, but as of late, that storm has went dry. That being the foo-man himself, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew. Yes, these talents have found themselves in very significant roles to their teams’ success through the duration of the first half the 2019 season. So, I figured why not compile a list of the my top five favorite rookies through nine weeks, and potential favorites to land some 2019 Rookie of the Year hardware at the conclusion of the season.
- Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders:
From his home state of Oklahoma, where he played his high school days in Tulsa, to his new home of Oakland, California, Josh Jacobs has consistently been a crucial counter piece to the offenses he’s played for. A former member of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Jacobs was selected in the 1st round of the 2019 NFL Draft with the No. 24 overall pick. Jacobs comes from a prominent running back university under a guy by the name of Nick Saban. Names like NFL running backs Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram developed their talents while at Alabama and have been a proven force in the NFL. I expect Jacobs to produce alike from those names. Nine games in and Jacobs ranks eigth among running backs with 152 carries for 740 yards and 6 touchdowns according to profootballreference.com. Barring any unforeseen issues, Jacobs’ future is bright and he is sure to be another Henry or Ingram, but far from another former Alabama running back, Trent Richardson.
- Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants:
If you know me, then you knew that when you read the headline of this article this list wasn’t not going to include Daniel Jones. It didn’t take long before my prediction on Danny Dimes slowly fell into place as Giants veteran QB Eli Manning stopped throwing dimes (he really needs to hand his jersey number over to Jones if we’re being honest). For a guy that got scrutinized by both the New York Giants fan base and the media before even laying his paws on a pigskin, he sure has made his mark and statement to critics across the NFL. I absolutely applauded Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman and their front office for investing their 6th overall pick of the first round in the 2019 Draft in a kid who just needed a chance. He is their quarterback for the future and the Giants will be on the rise in the coming of years thanks to this transition of quarterbacks. Dimes stepped in to assume Manning’s horrendous performances under center in week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jones went 23/36, 336 yards, and recorded two passing and rushing touchdowns. Since then, Jones has accounted for 1,466 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. The Giants sit at 2-6 on the season, yet you have to take into account that the Giants are thin at both offensive line and receiving corps. In due time I anticipate this investment to be nothing short of successful.
- Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars:
It seems as though the entire cast of the classic 2005 comedy film Napoleon Dynamite have migrated to the great state of Florida in effort to help revive a much deprived franchise, specifically at the quarterback position. In March of 2019, the Jacksonville Jaguars had released five year veteran quarterback Blake Bortles in search of a fresh start. Days later, the Jags had agreed to terms with former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles on a 4-year, $88 million dollar deal. Flash forward to the start of the 2019 season with Nick Foles places on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury sustained in week 1 against the Chiefs. Lucky for the Jags, they came prepared. Former Washington State Cougars product and PAC 12 sensation Gardner Minshew was ready for the huge task ahead of him. From the bell bottom pants that Minshew struts off in the tunnel for pregame to the phenomenal mustache, Gardner’s swagger is unmatched. But forget intangibles, this 6th round pick from Flowood, Mississippi has proven to be a low-risk investment. Through his 9 weeks of play, Menshew has recorded 2,285 yards, 13 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions off of his 188/307 passing completions. That is a 61% passer completion percentage… not too bad. Unfortunately, the Jags sit 4-5 on the season and sit at 3rd in the AFC South. It might not be a playoff appearance this year, but the future is “Dynamite” at the quarterback position.
- Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals:
If there was one draft pick that I was going to be afraid I would have to bite my words on it would have to be the number 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, Kyler Murray. Here I thought that size was a necessity at the QB position and would truly affect Murray’s performance, but clearly it wasn’t an issue in college for Murray or former 2017-18 Oklahoma Sooner QB and Heisman Baker Mayfield. I felt that Mayfield was the far more decorated and more equipped to excel at the position than Murray, but boy I was wrong. Murray has played lights out for a team with a horrendous offensive line, a young receiving corps (with the caveat of Larry Fitzgerald), and a coaching staff that makes you laugh unto the point of tears when you see the names on the same paper. It was almost like the kid was destined to see his career wither away given the circumstances, but he has played phenomenal. 2,229 passing yards with a 64% completion percentage, 9 passing touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Murray has been able to do what I thought he could never do, thrive at extending plays. His mobility compliments his confidence in passing downfield. Murray ranks 5th in the league among passers, with his completion percentage ranking third among passers.
- Nick Bosa, DE, San Francisco 49ers:
As if one Bosa brother was not enough for NFL quarterbacks to deal with, but hey, what’s another disruptor? Bosa was said to be, in many peoples’ eyes, the #1 overall pick in the 2019 NFl Draft, but some of the reason for him being selected #2 overall also had to do with the fact his final year at Ohio State was cut short due to injury. San Francisco seemed to have reestablished themselves entirely on defense, and that is also in part to their splash made in free agency last offseason. The 9ers managed to snag pass rusher Dee Ford and linebacker Kwon Alexander, but Bosa’s efficiency has shined the most of all. Through nine games, Bosa has recorded 17 solo tackles, 7 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and an interception. The San Francisco 49ers remain the only undefeated team in the NFL at 8-0, and their defense is to blame. Bosa ranks 11th in the NFL in the sack category, but I am certain he will only improve that statline through the back half of the 2019 season.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org