Josh Jacobs showed in his rookie season he belongs in the NFL and even though he will be a Las Vegas Raiders core player for years to come, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray ended up winning the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Did Murray really deserve it or was Jacobs snubbed?
The case for Raiders RB Josh Jacobs
Jacobs arrived in the NFL with durability concerns as he was never a feature back in Alabama. He more or less dispelled those questions when he finished the year with 242 carries, 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns. The Raiders rushing attack went from 25th in the league in 2018 to 13th last season. The rookie had an impact, but at the same time, he missed three games with a shoulder injury.
However, Jacobs contributions weren’t enough to help the Raiders offense have a winning record and they won just three more games (7-9) than they did in 2018 (4-12).
Related: Raiders measures up to other Raiders 1st round running backs
Kyler Murray did something right
Arizona picked Murray first overall in 2019 in spite of drafting Josh Rosen in the first round the year before. General Manager Steve Keim said at the moment he was confident the former Sooners quarterback was special. All in all, the signal-caller threw for 3,722 yards, 20 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and ran for 509 yards and four scores.
Just like Jacobs, Murray and the Cardinals had a losing record, 5-10-1, but the pro game didn’t seem too big for him and felt more comfortable as the season went on.
Who really deserves OROY?
Both players have a strong case though the quarterback was the one who won the award. To begin with, Murray played all 16 games last season while Murray missed three contests. Also, quarterbacks touch the ball and are involved in every play so the signal-caller had a bigger impact (for the better or worse) on his team.
Also, their seasons went in opposite directions. Murray began the season with seven touchdowns in the first half of the season while Jacobs was a hammer and scored six touchdowns. That changed towards the end of the year as the quarterback had 12 touchdowns in his last eight matches. Meanwhile, the running back finished with just one touchdown in the second half of the season.
Another thing that might have contributed to Murray’s selection was that Jacobs wasn’t the only rookie on offense who had an impact for his team in 2019. Hunter Renfrow was arguably the Raiders best receiver since his Week 7 breakout game against the Texans. Also, Foster Moreau had five touchdowns and showed superb blocking skills. Jacobs was one of the the reasons Oakland’s record improved, not the sole reason, as the team had better talent overall than the one they fielded in 2018.
Contrarily, the Cardinals didn’t get much production from their offensive rookie class last year. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury was excited about drafting Andy Isabella, but the wide receiver didn’t have the expected impact. Putting aside their rookie class, other than first class receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Kenyan Drake, Arizona’s offense was devoid of talent, so it could be argued Murray carried a bigger load than Jacobs.
That’s not to say Jacobs was bad, not at all. He’s the running back the Raiders need and will count on for years to come. 13 Associated Press voters seem to agree with that assessment as they voted for him. It’s just that 26.5 thought Murray had a bigger impact.
At the end of the day, Jacobs shouldn’t feel disappointed and there’s only one thing he can do, he can have a great sophomore campaign and show AP voters made a mistake. In the meantime, Raider Nation has to be excited about how much of an impact the running will have in Las Vegas.
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