Halfway through the 2019 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have to be happy with what they have gotten out of their most recent draft class. After all, nearly the entire class has contributed to their 4-4 record in the midst of starting quarterback Nick Foles going down with injury in Week 1.
Due to the play of Jacksonville's young rookies, the first-year players are starting to garner more and more recognition from national media. And when you look at how the draft class has contributed, it is not hard to see why they are one of the talks of the NFL.
Round 1 (7): DE/LB Josh Allen. Seven sacks, two forced fumbles and has played 68% of team's defensive snaps.
Round 2 (35): OL Jawaan Taylor. Has started at right tackle every game this season and has played every single offensive snap.
Round 3 (69): TE Josh Oliver. Injured until Week 8, has caught one pass for six yards while playing 55 snaps over the last two games.
Round 3 (98): LB Quincy Williams. Started at weakside linebacker for first five games. Has 33 tackles and has played 64% of the team's defensive snaps.
Round 5 (140): RB Ryquell Armstead. Has not played much behind Leonard Fournette, but still has one of the team's only two touchdowns from a running back this season.
Round 6 (178): QB Gardner Minshew II. Has played all but two drives as the team's starting quarterback and has accounted for 2,177 total yards and 13 touchdowns.
Round 7 (235): DL Dontavius Russell. Has only played in two games and played a total of 22 snaps.
Simply put, the Jaguars have gotten a ton of production out of their rookie class. And so far, people have taken notice.
For example, Chris Wesseling of NFL.com thinks the 2019 Jaguars draft class has been the best in the NFL through eight weeks.
The only three quarterbacks with a better TD-to-INT ratio than Minshew in 2019 are either former MVPs or Super Bowl winners: Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. From escapability, to accuracy, to decision making, to third-down conversions, to elevating his surrounding talent and inspiring the fan base, Minshew has played like a young Tony Romo.
Meanwhile, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.Com has released his list of the top 25 rookies at the midseason point, and several Jaguars find themselves on his list with Minshew at No. 2, Allen at No. 3 and Williams at No. 25.
Allen was a steal for the Jaguars at No. 7 overall. He is tied with Bosa for the sack lead among rookies and he's been consistently disruptive every week.
Finally, a collection of ESPN writers has ranked their top 10 rookies and, unsurprisingly, Minshew and Allen find themselves in the rankings. Minshew came in at No. 3 and Allen was at No. 6.
Composed in the pocket and opportunistic with the ball, Minshew has impressed in Jacksonville. Defensive coordinators who have faced him say his ability to work to all parts of the field is ahead of his résumé.
If Jacksonville hopes to continue to make noise over the second half of the season, their rookie class will need to continue to make noise. And this is not foreign territory for Jacksonville, either.
Jacksonville's 2016 rookie draft class composed of impact players such as Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack and Yannick Ngakoue who were able to step in and contribute almost right away. The 2014 draft class had year-one starters that played at a high level in wide receiver Allen Robinson, center Brandon Linder and linebacker Telvin Smith.
As Jacksonville tries to make a playoff push in a tight AFC South, players like Allen and Taylor will continue to be leaned upon. It remains up in the air if Minshew will keep the starting job once Foles returns from the team's reserve/injured list, but the team has to feel comfortable with him for as long as he is on the field.
Then add in any potential contributions from Oliver, Williams and Armstead, and the Jaguars' draft class is shaping up nicely. A lot can change, but as of today it looks like Jacksonville's front office knocked the 2019 NFL Draft out of the park.