When AJ Brown was selected 51st overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, we knew what we were getting out of the Ole Miss product.
An extended route tree, one that wide receivers typically don’t have in their arsenal this early in their professional career.
The uncanny ability to take simple plays, sprinkle a little magic on them, and turn them into exciting sequences that puts your offense in favorable positions time and time again.
Lastly, an outgoing personality just makes you want to smile and joke around. A personality that can change the landscape of a franchise, and one that a good bit of superstars around the league are carrying on their shoulders.
Despite the overwhelming positives Brown has going for him, I’m pretty sure no one expected the impact Brown has had on the Tennessee Titans so far.
Despite up and down quarterback play so far this year, and first year OC Arthur Smith still finding consistency in his playcalling, Brown has put up some stellar numbers for a rookie wide receiver.
Through 15 games, Brown has 48 catches for 927 yards and 7 touchdowns.
What’s even more impressive is his 19.3 yards per reception, good for 2nd in the league behind Mike Williams.
These numbers blow any original early expectations for Brown out the window.
I’m sure Brown would rather gain the likes of playoff appearances and Super Bowl rings, but with the season Brown is having, it’s pretty fair to start pondering the odds of Brown taking home the Rookie of The Year award.
What are his chances of taking the home the award? Who’s his main competition?
Let’s discuss it.
Brown’s Main Competition For ROTY
1. Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders
Jacobs has gone from being underutilized at Alabama, to a wearing down workhorse for the Oakland Raiders. His downhill running style fits exactly what Jon Gruden wants to do offensively.
He’s been the boat that keeps this Raiders offense afloat, killing clock and keeping this offense on schedule and efficient.
He became the 1st rookie in Raiders history to cross the thousand yard mark, only adding on to the dominant rookie year he’s stamped onto his resume.
There’s been talk of Jacobs having the ROTY award all but locked up, and he just might.
Jacobs won’t suit up for the Raiders’ important week 17 finale, leaving the door open for the likes of AJ Brown & others to snatch the award from Jacobs’ grasp.
Although I doubt this absence will have any sort of significant impact on Jacobs’ standing, his week 17 absence might end up being the reason for Jacobs not taking home the award.
2. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Murray has quietly enjoyed a nice rookie year under first year head coach, Kliff Kingsbury.
Murray has thrown for 3,397 yards, and although he’s only thrown only 18 touchdowns, a surprisingly efficient run game and the ever so glaring importance of the quick passing game, has kept Murray from making loads of mistakes this year.
Not only had Murray’s exciting arm talent been on display, but the use of his legs has proven effective as well.
Once Murray has a respectable group of wide receivers, and an offensive line that can sit back and do their job, he’ll only skyrocket in terms of development.
Murray suffered a hamstring injury last week against Seattle, putting his week 17 status into the world of the unknown.
His potential absence just might put the ROTY race into some sort of disarray.
We’ll see how this plays out.
3. Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins
It’s been nothing short of amazing to see the rookie year of Terry McLaurin unfold.
From the incompetence within the Redskins organization that’s running amok, to the quarterback shuffle that’s been occuring this year, to even an head coach being fired midway through the season, McLaurin has been able to keep up the consistency through it all.
His 58 catches are the most among rookie receivers, and his 919 yards rank second behind AJ Brown.
An absolute stellar season from the ex-Ohio State Buckeye.
However, like Josh Jacobs, McLaurin won’t be suiting up for a pretty meaningless week 17 game for Washington.
A smart move, considering McLaurin figures to be a key part of this Redskins offense for years to come.
Throwing him out there and risking potential injury would just be foolish.
Honorable Mentions, DK Metcalf and Miles Sanders
DK Metcalf has turned into a reliable yardage monster during his rookie year in Seattle. His straight line speed works wonders in a run heavy Seahawks offense, and will be a heavily asked upon to continue thriving in the role he currently possesses.
Miles Sanders hasn’t gotten the same volume as Jacobs, nor the same amount of yards gained on the ground, but he sure has been am important player for Doug Pederson and the Philadelphia Eagles. With Jordan Howard returning, Sanders won’t be the workhorse he was, but he’ll still continue to make an impact in the passing game.
Where AJ Brown Stands
Brown stands in a great position to take home the award.
His production, since Ryan Tannehill was inserted into the starting lineup, has risen tremendously.
I believe it’s pretty safe to say that this offense wouldn’t nearly be as explosive without the contributions of AJ Brown.
I think Brown only takes home the award if he has a strong showing this weekend, as Josh Jacobs has continued chugging towards the honor.
But regardless if Brown takes home the award or not, it’s pretty clear Brown will have his fingerprints all over the Titans’ passing game for years to come.
Featured image via Frederick Breedon/Getty Images