MIAMI, Fla. -- Josh Jacobs did not win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award at Saturday's NFL Honors.
Yeah. I can’t believe it either.
The outstanding Raiders running back was overlooked in favor of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. A worthy candidate to be sure, but Murray simply wasn’t as dynamic a presence during the 2019 season.
I watched every snap Jacobs took during his rookie year. Most of them were awesome.
The Alabama product has elusiveness and power, football smarts and a relentless competitive drive.
He broke most every Raiders rookie rushing record, most of which were set by Marcus Allen. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry. He had 1,1150 rushing yards in sum despite missing three of the last four games with a fractured shoulder. He played through that injury during the season’s second half without complaint, taking injections to dull the pain of an ailment suffered while trucking Green Bay Packers safety Adrian Amos.
Jacobs proved efficient around the goal line and tough to tackle in space. His elusiveness rating was sky high, with 78 missed tackles forced. That’s the NFL’s best number by a long shot, a shockingly high sum that can’t be ignored. He averaged 3.48 yards after contact per attempt.
He should have won. Plain and simple.
It’s fair to say the recency bias played a factor here. Jacobs missed much of the season’s home stretch while other young players thrived. Jacobs should’ve won the award by a landslide, but his late-season absence gave Murray, Tennessee Titans receiver A.J. Brown, and Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders an opportunity to steal votes away.
The award is given by a panel facilitated by the Associated Press that concluded voting after the regular season’s final week. Brown was productive during the Titans' playoff push. Murray proved a legitimate franchise quarterback, while Jacobs sat as the Raiders lost control of a playoff spot. The voting block did not concur with the Pro Football Writers Association, which gave Jacobs the offensive rookie of the year award.
That’s the only logic swaying votes away from Jacobs. Outside that, I just can’t listen to another argument that Jacobs didn’t deserve to be the third Raiders rookie of the year after Allen and Charles Woodson.
It’s bad news that Jacobs didn’t an award he deserved. It’s good news that his shoulder has regained health and he’ll be ready to start the offseason program strong. He’s a true feature running back and will be the Raiders' offensive centerpiece for years to come.
Winning rookie of the year certainly was a goal, so losing it will provide motivation for someone who doesn’t need much to run hard. Especially because, as we all should admit, losing out on it was nothing short of a slight.