The Oakland Raiders have gotten out to a solid start to the 2019 season that has them in possible playoff contention. The Raiders have moved forward with a largely new group offensively that features standout rookie running back Josh Jacobs continuing to stuff the stat sheet weekly, stacking more strong outings. His promising play has also elevated him to the forefront to capture the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Raiders reshape backfield with Josh Jacobs
During the offseason, the Raiders moved on from former Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch, who played in just six games last year due to a groin injury as he stepped into retirement for the second time.
The team shifted gears with the approach of taking former Alabama running back Josh Jacobs with the 24th overall pick in this year’s draft. Since the start, Jacobs has taken firm control of the workload in the backfield over DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.
He has stepped in as one of the focal points of the offensive game plan that the Raiders have quickly found stability and success behind his play. Jacobs’ high level of production has also pushed him to the top of the ranks in the conversation for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Josh Jacobs off to historic pace
The 21-year-old has stepped into the primary back role and run with it by putting up historic numbers along the way.
Although the bulk of his work has come in the running game, Jacobs has notched more than 100 rushing yards three times while tallying multiple rushing touchdowns three times. That has put him alongside Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott to accomplish that feat their first season.
Jacobs is also the first player since Ickey Woods back in 1988 to notch that feat in their first eight career games. His strong outing against the Detroit Lions has also helped him break Hall of Famer Marcus Allen’s rookie franchise record of 697 rushing yards that was set in the strike-shortened 1982 season.
He has proven to be everything and more for the Raiders’ offense that they have been able to lean heavily as the tone-setter to their offensive game plan. Jacobs’ ability to break free for big plays while being a strong goal line option has given their offense another element that they have been missing for the last few seasons.
It has also taken a bit of the damper off from the disapppointing play from Clelin Ferrell. Beyond that, his production and impact on the Raiders offense has more than lifted him to the top as the favorite to earn the Offensive Rookie of the Year, which would be the team’s first since Allen.
Josh Jacobs has some stiff competition
Through the first nine weeks, Jacobs has been the most impactful rookie in the league behind his consistent play.
A few other players could give him a strong run for the award. First overall pick Kyler Murray has continued to show improvement as the season has rolled on as he has thrown for 2,229 yards with nine touchdowns along with 313 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Murray has led the Cardinals to a better start than expected behind his production. Gardner Minshew has been a pleasant surprise for the Jacksonville Jaguars after Nick Foles went down as he has notched 2,285 yards with a rookie-best 13 touchdowns.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin has been a huge bright spot for their offense proving to be the real deal as he has leads all rookies with 497 receiving yards and five touchdowns along with 32 receptions. McLaurin has shown tremendous big-play ability that could one day make him a Pro Bowler in the near future.
Ultimately, if Jacobs produces at a high level the rest of the season, while the Raiders continue to take steps forward, it’s hard to envision any other player prying this award away from him.