By Jacob Stienberg
Following a 12-4 season powered by an elite defense, the Chicago Bears head into 2019 with Super Bowl hopes. With an offense that lacked backfield playmakers last season, the Bears traded up in the third round of the NFL draft to select running back David Montgomery, my pick for the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
The Bears running game was predictable last season. The team was ranked at the bottom quarter of the league in yards per carry despite finishing 11th in total rushing yards.
Head coach Matt Nagy’s offense tends to rely on misdirection and adaptability. Last year’s leading rusher, Jordan Howard, had limited versatility that didn’t fit Nagy’s scheme. Running back Tarik Cohen returns and is a flashy playmaker in space. However, he is too small to be a workhorse back.
Montgomery is a playmaker like Cohen but more well rounded. At Iowa State, he rushed for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns on 624 career carries. He also hauled in 71 receptions for 582 yards.
Montgomery’s versatility will allow the Bears offense to be more flexible and less predictable, which will also aid quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s progression. He showcased his versatility during the first week of the preseason, finishing with three carries for 16 yards and one touchdown, while also adding three catches for 30 yards.
Three of the last four offensive rookies of the year have been running backs. Throughout the 52 years the award has been in place, 34 offensive rookies of the year have been running backs.
Allan believes that Jacobs will seamlessly fit into the NFL. The Raiders and head coach Jon Gruden have not adapted to the modern game. He will struggle in the pass game and extending plays in space.
This award goes to the rookie who had the greatest impact on their respective offense. David Montgomery has all the tools to become a game-changer in the NFL. His versatility, the talent around him and an innovative offensive scheme give reason to believe he will be the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
By Allan Kabese
Running backs have dominated over this award in the past few years; three of the past four winners have been halfbacks. Many fans and media personalities believed Ezekiel Elliot deserved the award in 2016 when instead, his quarterback, Dak Prescott, won the award.
Josh Jacobs is my pick for the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The 5-foot-10, 220-pound Jacobs was a three-star recruit out of high school. Eventually Alabama head coach Nick Saban landed on some highlights posted on Twitter and offered the Tulsa native a scholarship to run the football for the Crimson Tide.
Jacobs runs like he has a chip on his shoulder. At Alabama he showed the ability to run people over with power and aggressiveness. He also made people miss with his quick feet and shiftiness.
Additionally, he has shown promise in the receiving game and even surprisingly on the kick-return team. Last season, he led Alabama halfbacks in total touchdowns.
Jacobs might not have displayed eye-catching numbers during his three years in Tuscaloosa, as he had to share touches with Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and Najee Harris. However, this could end up working out to his advantage as his body has not received as much punishment as most halfbacks in his draft class.
Jacobs is going to be the Oakland Raiders’ starting back unlike David Montgomery, who will likely play second fiddle to Tarik Cohen. Kyler Murray may also be out of the question as the other favorite for this award, as he will have to overcome what is probably the worst offensive line in the league.
Jacobs will be a three-down back for an offense that added Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, which will create lanes for him to run away with the award.