The 2019 NFL draft has produced a widespread of talent at many positions after only one season. Players such as Nick Bosa, Josh Jacobs, Terry McLaurin, Devin Bush, Kyler Murray, AJ Brown, and Philadelphia’s own Miles Sanders are all in close competition for the coveted ‘NFL 2019 Rookie of the Year’ award.

With Miles Sanders making a late-season surge, it raises the question as to whether it is enough to overcome his slow start for the award. Many football fans outside of Philadelphia have shut down the idea, arguing Raiders’ rookie running back Josh Jacobs has been consistently better all season.

It’s no secret that Jacobs has been having a fantastic year; however, does his argument hold statistically over Sanders?

Jacobs hasn’t been utilized through the air nearly as much as Sanders has, giving the Eagles’ running back the edge in that area. Sanders has been able to post 47 receptions for 510 yards and three scores. Josh Jacobs has posted 20 receptions for 166 yards and no scores.

When it comes to carrying the football, Jacobs has certainly produced more than Sanders. On 242 carries, Jacobs has rounded up 1,150 rushing yards along with seven touchdowns. Doing so with an average of 4.8 yards per attempt is rather impressive. Sanders doesn’t fall too far behind in rushing totals. Sanders averages 4.5 yards-per-carry over his 170 attempts. He has a total of 766 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.

It’s no secret that Jacobs has better numbers on the ground, but context matters. We must remember that Miles Sanders wasn’t a featured back in Philadelphia this season as opposed to Jacobs down in Oakland.

In 10 of his 13 starts in 2019, Jacobs has received 15+ carries. Miles Sanders has only been given 15+ carries in four games this season; more specifically, his last four starts. So let’s look more in-depth at Sanders and his spectacular four-game stretch.

In his last four starts with Jordan Howard missing time due to injury, Sanders has produced significant numbers. If we were to take his totals from the past four starts and stretch them out over a 16-game season, here is how it’d look:

RUSHING      | 284 att. | 1,316 yds | 8 TD | 4.63 ypc |

RECEIVING  | 88 tar. | 80 rec | 692 yds | 8 TD | 8.7 ypc |

It is important to understand that this is extremely impressive. Miles Sanders, when given the opportunity, has been posting ridiculous numbers for a rookie.

For some perspective, here is where Sanders would rank in Eagles franchise history with these single-season totals:

  • 11th most receptions in Eagles franchise history
  • 7th most rushing yards in Eagles franchise history
  • 3rd most yards from scrimmage in Eagles franchise history

The only two athletes above Miles Sanders in total yards from scrimmage in this scenario are LeSean McCoy (2013) with 2,146 total yards and Brian Westbrook (2007) with 2,104 total yards.

Sanders would have 2,008 total yards along with 16 total touchdowns. It would make him only the fourth Eagles player in franchise history to surpass 2,000 total scrimmage yards.

While it is surely more impressive to put up such numbers over an actual 16-game season as opposed to four games, we must view it as his ceiling. Sanders has the potential to be a three-down back, if not already.

Sanders is one of the more impressive Eagles rookies from the past decade; however, I still have to favor Jacobs in this debate.

As I’ve stated on Twitter:

One could debate all day as to which running back has proven more deserving for the award. One thing that is clear, however, is that both are talented, young athletes who are seemingly just getting started.

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