The NFL draft is anything but predictable. Some players transition from their college to professional careers bringing the same distinctive skillset that got them drafted. For others, their promise seems to remain on the college field. As we pass the midpoint of the NFL regular season, some players have lived up to their hype more than others. From bulldozing running backs to fleet-footed receivers and pin-point accurate quarterbacks, here are our top five NFL candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
1. Josh Jacobs, Running Back for the Oakland Raiders
The rookie out of Alabama stormed into the NFL with notable strength and talent. Averaging five yards per carry and racking up a whopping 722 yards in the past seven games, Jacobs is a dominant presence on the field. After his superior performance against the Detroit Lions during Week 9, the NFL named him the AFC Offensive Rookie of the Month for October. Having totaled 358 yards and scoring two touchdowns in the span of just three games, Jacobs is at the forefront of contention for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
2. Kyler Murray, Quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals
Despite the Cardinals not having the range of weapons for him to demonstrate his full potential, Kyler Murray has nonetheless proved why he deserved to be the number one overall draft pick. He’s a playmaker who knows how to perform well under pressure. So far, the first-year quarterback has thrown for 2,229 yards and nine touchdown passes with plenty still left in the tank.
3. Gardner Minshew, Quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars
Great facial hair isn’t the only iconic part of Minshew’s game. The Washington State quarterback brought new life into Jacksonville this season. So far, he’s thrown for a respectable 1,976 yards and garnered 13 touchdowns under his belt. A good decision-maker, Minshew knows how to create plays that might just squeeze the Jaguars into the playoffs.
4. Terry McLaurin, Wide Receiver for the Washington Redskins
Accounting for roughly 43% of the Washington Redskins’ passing yards, Terry McLaurin does more than just carry his weight on the field. Thus far, the rookie out of Ohio State has averaged an impressive 15.5 yards per game and scored five touchdowns. He has also matched up well against some of the best cornerbacks in the league, including Richard Sherman of the undefeated San Francisco 49ers, making McLaurin a prime contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
5. T.J. Hockenson, Tight End for the Detroit Lions
While the rookie tight end out of Iowa came into Detroit as the eighth overall draft pick, T.J. Hockenson hasn’t demonstrated as much talent as the Lions might have hoped for. Nevertheless, Hockenson still shows glimpses of the skill he boasted during his college career. He’s a smart player, capable of executing tricky routes and getting open in the red zone. While he only caught three out of seven intended passes, totaling just 56 yards during the Lions’ Week 9 loss to the Oakland Raiders, Hockenson still has a lot to offer with plenty of regular season left for him to show it.
With eight weeks left in the regular season, it will be interesting to see which rookies continue to shine and whose sparks diminish. Will the Offensive Rookie of the Year be the current popular favorite Josh Jacobs? One of the trademark quarterbacks? The dependable Terry McLaurin? The agile T.J. Hockenson? Or will it be someone else entirely? Only time – and stats – will tell.