The 2019 NFL Draft has come and while most experts and pundits are picking the low hanging fruit when it comes to their predictions for possible candidates for Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards. Arizona Cardinals’ Kyler Murray who went No.1 overall is considered the early favorite and the Oakland Raider’s Josh Jacobs is viewed as a close second to be OROY. Here are some rookies that aren’t being talked about as likely candidates but deserve serious consideration and could very well bring home the honor:
• QB Dwayne Haskins, Washington Redskins: The former Buckeye fell right into the laps of the Redskins at the 15th overall pick and could have a Baker Mayfield-like rise to the starting position in the nation’s capital. He’s viewed as the best pure passer in this draft and could earn the starting gig in training camp or even the preseason.
Predictions for 2019: 3,500 passing yards, 25 passing touchdowns, seven interceptions, and four rushing touchdowns.
• TE Noah Fant, Denver Broncos: While a lot of attention is being paid to his fellow former Iowa Hawkeye TJ Hockenson who was selected in the top 10, Fant is the more dynamic of the two and is playing with a quarterback in Joe Flacco who loves targeting his athletic pass-catching tight ends.
Predictions for 2019: 58 catches, 780 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns.
• WR Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens: He was the first receiver to come off the board and is viewed as the most electrifying in the entire class. He’ll provide the quick strike element that has been absent from the Ravens offense for years. While the team will roll out one of the most run-heavy offensive attacks in the league, he’ll be able to take the top off opposing defenses with his blazing speed when they decide to load the box to defend the ground game.
Predictions for 2019: 62 catches, 1,050 receiving yards, nine receiving touchdowns, 18 yards per catch, 15 rushes for 150 yards, three rushing touchdowns, and one return touchdown.
• WR N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots: The defending Superbowl champions selected a receiver in the first round for the first time in over two decades when they selected the former Arizona State Sun Devil. With Rob Gronkowski retired (for now), Harry will provide future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady with a big-bodied target who can be a force in the redzone, come down with contested catches and is a willing blocker in the run game.
Predictions for 2019: 70 catches, 1,100 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns.
• RB David Montgomery, Chicago Bears: He’s a “do it all” running back that can be a factor as a rusher as well as a receiver. He possesses great short area quickness, excels in pass protection and will work well in tandem with the electrifying Tarik Cohen.
Predictions for 2019: 750 rushing yards, 28 catches, 300 receiving yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, and four receiving touchdowns.
• TE Irv Smith, Minnesota Vikings: The first-round talent fell to the second round and into a great fit with quarterback Kirk Cousins who flourishes when he has a great passing threat at the tight end position because he likes to target them early and often.
Predictions for 2019: 50 catches, 696 receiving yards, and nine receiving touchdowns.
• WR Paris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck now has two dynamic speedsters at the receiver position that can run a diverse route tree as well as outrun coverage with their top-end speed in Campbell and Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton.
Predictions for 2019: 68 catches, 950 receiving yards, eight receiving touchdowns,16 yards per catch, 12 rushes for 101 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
• WR Diontae Jordan, Pittsburgh Steelers: With Antonio Brown now in Oakland, the Steelers elected to take another receiver outside of the first round that can benefit from playing with Big Ben in potent passing twilight of his career. Jordan is a versatile receiver that can run routes from the slot as well as lined up out wide. Their No.2 receivers tend to put up numbers comparable to their top target which is now Juju Smith-Schuster entering his third year.
Predictions for 2019: 73 catches, 910 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns.
• WR Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers: He is a dynamic talent that can run crisp routes all over the field and is extremely elusive in the open field. He will be utilized in a variety of ways in Head Coach Kyle Shanahan’s creative offense and can contribute as a dangerous returner as well.
Predictions for 2019: 62 catches, 770 receiving yards, eight receiving touchdowns, 18 rushes for 130 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns, 350 return yards, and two return touchdowns.