WHO are THE TOUCHDOWN'S Offensive Rookie OF THE YEAR nominations?

2018 saw Baker Mayfield steam past Saquon Barkley to take home the offensive rookie of the year award. Now with the 2019 season drawing to close who will take home the award this year? In this article, four of our writers identify five potential candidates for the award, including a quarterback not getting enough consideration, and a rare mention of an offensive lineman in the field.

Mark Ross: Josh Jacobs

It’s not easy as a rookie coming into the NFL and performing well in your first season as a running back, and it will be difficult for anyone to compete with Saquon Barkley’s rookie season, which he did not even win with, but Jacobs gave it a good go. Amongst other rookies he is first in rushing yards per game (88.5), first in rushing yards (1150), first in rushing touchdowns (7), first in rushing first downs (53), first in rushing yards after contact average (2.83) and first in rushing yards after contact (686). 

Amongst all running backs he is eighth in rushing yards and with a big performance in Week 17 he could climb that table as high as fourth (depending on those above him). Bearing in mind he has done all of this and battled with injuries. The Raiders are still in with a shot at the playoffs and a lot of this can be put down to their elite rookie running back and his ability to get the crunch play completed. 

Alex Chinnery: AJ Brown

AJ Brown was my number one ranked receiver in the latest draft and he has lived up to the billing this season. Making strong contested catches and big plays in every game, Brown has been a major part of the Titans revival under Ryan Tannehill.

Ben Rolfe: Miles Sanders

This one is a little off the wall, but the numbers tell a fascinating story for Sanders. A lot of people have quoted a yards gained number that exceeds 1500 yards on social media. Well I am scrubbing 300 of those that come in the form of kick returns. A kick return should be a minimum of 15 yards, so no, you do not get credit for that in my book, especially if you have not taken any returns to the house.

However, when given the opportunity, Sanders has been extremely impressive as an offensive weapon. He is averaging 4.5 yards per attempt, which is solid, but in the receiving game he has added another 510 yards at over 8.5 yards per catch. Those numbers combine for 217 touches and 1276 yards at an average of 5.9 yards per touch. For context, that is 0.1 more yards per attempt than Barkley achieved last year. Throw in his six combined touchdowns, and he is an outside bet for the award, especially if he finishes the season strong against the New York Giants.

Ben Rolfe: Kyler Murray

I am going to cheat a little here and mention two candidates, because somewhat strangely Kyler Murray is receiving very little attention. Let’s face it, it rare for a quarterback to have played virtually a whole season and not be receiving realistic consideration for the award. There are a few things counting against Murray. To put it simply, his numbers do not appear to matchup to the numbers of last years winner, Baker Mayfield.

However, while his 18 touchdowns do not match the 27 of Mayfield, and his 3397 yards are also short, he has added four touchdowns and 544 yards on the ground. Both of those numbers far exceed Mayfield from last year. Additionally, Murray has put up his passing numbers while posting a below average Sack%+ compared to the league. His offensive line has been a wreck, and for large parts of the year he has been without a competent running game. When you start considering it all in context, the numbers are actually a solid output.

Throw into the mix that potentially the Cardinals could double their 2018 wins in Week 17, despite being considered a candidate to go 0-16 by many after they hired Kliff Kingsbury in the offseason. Ultimately, this season is never going to be widely remembered for the Cardinals, but it just could be the start of some real change. Unfortunately, what this might mean for the future is not a major factor in OROTY voting.

Rebecca Rennie: Erik McCoy

Offensive lineman don’t receive much attention when it comes to end of season awards, and if Quenton Nelson can only garner two votes for the 2018 rookie of the year award, that won’t be changing any time soon. Still, like Nelson before him, New Orleans center Erik McCoy deserves recognition as one of the best and most impactful rookies from the 2019 draft class.

McCoy has stepped in seamlessly as the anchor to the Saints O-line, taking over for Max Unger. While he has the support of one of the best line units in the league around him, he’s thrived in his first season. He only recently allowed his first sack of the season in pass protection, and has been one of the standout run blockers at the position, be it rookie or veteran.

McCoy felt like a steal when the Saints were able to halt his slide in the mid-second round of the draft. Showing clear first round traits during his time with Texas A&M, McCoy was an exciting blend of technical coordination and plus athleticism. From his polished footwork and strong base, to his length and impactful punch, he can handle explosive speed and power at the point effectively in equal measure.

Considering his pre-snap responsibilities from a mental standpoint as part of his role at center, his reliability in execution has been remarkable for his first year. As good as his teammates are, both starting guards in Larry Warford and Andrus Peat have missed time on either side of McCoy. The answer to one of the major off-season questions for the Saints, few rookies are having as significant an impact on a legitimate Super Bowl contender as McCoy.

Image credit: AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, AP Photo / Tim Ireland