The half term results are out for this year’s rookie class. As with every year some have excelled, whilst others risk being held back.
Some entered the league with high expectations, following their glowing reviews in the college game. Elsewhere, predictions of what lay ahead were more tempered, which has led to those not initially considered as outstanding talents to surprise almost everyone.
As careers progress, their respective rookie seasons will be seen either as a promising sign of things to come, or the start of alarm bells being quietly rung.
Top of the Class
Widely regarded as the best player entering the 2019 draft, Nick Bosa has certainly lived up to his billing. Despite having to deal with the additional pressure of older brother Joey Bosa lighting up box scores, this only served as inspiration to do even better.
The Ohio State product has been a core member of the vaulted 49ers defence. Having now accumulated 20 tackles, 7 sacks and 1 forced fumble on the year, Nick Bosa is a near shoe-in for defensive rookie of the year award.
For the second consecutive year, a player named Josh Allen was selected 7th overall. This is where the comparisons end between the Jags linebacker and the Buffalo Bills signal caller. Allen came to Duval and joined an already impressive defensive front. Joining fellow OLB Myles Jack, the talented Yannick Ngakoue and veteran Calais Campbell, all the pieces were in place to create a scary pass rush.
But what is now becoming a worry theme for the Jaguars, all this promise has failed to deliver. It’s a team with star individuals that often fail to make it work as a team. None more so highlighted by the fact Josh Allen has notched 25 tackles and 7 sacks on the year. A stat line like this still earns Allen a top grade, despite teammates letting him down.
The second choice of the three 1st round selections the Raiders had in 2019, Jacobs has reinvigorated the run game for the Silver & Black. Averaging 4.8 rushing yards per attempt along with 7 TDs on the ground, it’s no wonder Josh Jacobs is looking a serious threat to be the offensive rookie of the year.
His usefulness doesn’t end there, Double J has proven to be a threat in the passing game too. He has turned 14 receptions into 132 yards, meaning he’s just short of averaging a first down on every catch. This is an overall sneaky good team. Good omens are certainly afoot for the franchise’s impending move to Sin City.
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Entering the 2019 season, Gardner Minshew was not expected to play any meaningful snaps. However, a week 1 injury to starter Nick Foles thrust the man picked 178th overall into the limelight. He immediately blew his pre-draft grade out of the water, tossing for a pair of touchdowns in his first game, whilst completing 88% of his passes.
Minshew seems to be the most natural passer of any of the quarterbacks in the 2019 class. It’s really quite something he fell as far as the 6th round. Whilst he’s now been benched for aforementioned Foles, there is no doubt he has a long future in this league. It will be interesting how the Jaguars move forward with this quarterback conundrum.
Seen by many as potential steal in the 5th round, the Texas Longhorns product has emerged as a useful piece for the Texans defensive front seven. Originally seen as JJ Watt’s understudy, Omenihu will take on more active role following Watt’s season ending injury; he will form part of the committee that will be deployed to fill this void.
In his limited action, Omenihu has discreetly put up some game affecting numbers. 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles on the year is a decent return for a guy taken 161st overall. Going forward expect these numbers to rise as the 6-win Texans look to push for a deep playoff run.
Must do better
Selected 30th overall, Deandre Baker came to Big Blue with a weight of expectation following his exploits at Georgia. Thus far however, he has failed to translate his successful college play to the big league. Opposing quarterbacks have seen him as the weak-link of the Giants secondary and he has been targeted accordingly.
Still without an interception on the year, questions are now being asked if NYG made a mistake in trading up to select Baker. They gave up 2nd, 4th and 5th round picks to bring him to New York, certainly not cheap. Having only defended three passes and not much else of note, something has to change here or comes the very real threat of being labelled a bust.
Hopes were high for this former Michigan Wolverine. The Packers believed they found their man in taking Rashan Gary 12th overall, an unusually high pick for one of the league’s more successful franchises in recent years. Perhaps it was this inexperience of having a top 15 draft pick that caused Green Bay to whiff the selection.
It’s been a year of struggle for Gary, with just the 6 tackles and a solitary sack to his name. Compare this to college teammate Devin Bush who was taken two picks before him, who has made 44 tackles with a sack, along with a pair of interceptions. An even more startling comparison is another former teammate namely Chase Winovich, who was a 3rd round selection. Winovich has 4.5 sacks and 7 tackles. It’s been a relatively poor year for Rashan Gary.