Five weeks into the 2019 NFL season, we now have a much better grasp of which rookies are separating themselves from the rest of the pack. Offensive and defensive rookie of the year races are heating up, as a result, so without further ado, here are my power rankings after week five.
Offensive Rookie of the Year Race
1 - Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders - 88 carries for 430 yards and 4 TDs
Josh Jacobs has started to find his footing, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns this week against the Chicago Bears, one of the best defenses in the NFL. He is one of the biggest reasons why the Oakland Raiders are off to a surprising 3-2 start — as the team has established its identity with the running game. Expect Jacobs to continue building momentum off of this performance.
2 - Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals - Passing: 1,324 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs | Rushing: 206 yards and 2 TDs
While the Cardinals’ season has gotten off to a rough start, and even though Murray has been up and down, and even though his play has been up and down, he has helped re-energize this offense back to life with his dual-threat production.
3 - Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars - Passing: 1,279 yards, 9 TDs, 1 INT | Rushing: 124 yards
When Gardner Minshew was asked to fill in for Nick Foles in week one, not many expected him to play on the level he’s currently playing at. He’s making smart decisions with the football and has been willing to take deep shots down the field. The interesting question now becomes — what do the Jaguars do when Foles comes back from injury?
4 - Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins/Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens - 19 catches for 308 yards and 3 TDs/21 catches for 326 yards and 3 TDs
This is a two-for-one deal, as both McLaurin and Brown have had similar success as their respective teams’ top targets in the passing game as rookies. Both have proven to be legitimate deep threats and go-to options going forward for the rest of the season, if healthy.
5 - Daniel Jones, QB, Giants - Passing: 760 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs | Rushing: 78 yards and 2 TDs
Daniel Jones is at a slight disadvantage in the rookie of the year race because he’s two games behind everyone else. However, he has helped breathe new life into this Giants offense, and has done an admirable job making plays without the availability of key playmakers. Once Saquon Barkley returns from injury, Jones’ numbers will only get better.
Defensive Rookie of the Year Race
1 - Brian Burns, EDGE, Panthers - 14 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 TD
Most of the draft community believed it would take Burns a while to acclimate to the next level because of his frame, but he’s proven otherwise in resounding fashion. In fact, he’s established himself as a top pass rush threat in each game he’s played so far. It’s close between Burns and the next two pass rushers on this list, but the difference has been Burns’ game-to-game consistency so far.
2 - Josh Allen, EDGE, Jaguars - 18 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 FF
Josh Allen has been nothing short of phenomenal the first five weeks of the season. He’s proven to be an explosive pass rusher and reliable defender, as he showed throughout his career at Kentucky. I wouldn’t argue if you said Allen is the leader in the DROY race right now — he’s just been that good.
3 - Nick Bosa, EDGE, 49ers - 8 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR
Nick Bosa’s breakout game as a rookie came Monday night against the Browns, racking up two sacks. He created pressure all game, and the cherry on top was mimicking Baker Mayfield’s flag plant that he did at Oklahoma when the Sooners beat Bosa’s Buckeyes. Look for Bosa to build momentum off of this huge performance.
4 - Devin Bush, LB, Steelers - 45 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 3 FR
If it weren’t for the three aforementioned pass rushers getting off to a hot start, Devin Bush would be the clear leader in the DROY clubhouse. He’s been the rock of this Steelers defense so far, proving that he can be a difference maker for years to come with his sideline to sideline playmaking ability and coverage skills.
5 - Darnell Savage, S, Packers - 18 tackles, 1 FF, 1 INT
There are two reasons why the Green Bay Packers’ secondary has looked leaps and bounds better this season — 1) Jaire Alexander is playing like an All-Pro. 2) Rookie Darnell Savage has brought a new level of energy at the safety position. His combination of versatility and ball skills provides so much value to this DB group.