Gardner Minshew finished one of the most surprising rookie seasons in NFL history, emerging as a sixth-round draft pick (178th overall) to becoming a starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars and winning six games for a team that had one of the worst run defenses and offensive lines in the NFL

Minshew never lacked confidence since he entered the league, winning over Jaguars fans with his personality and backstory that captivated the NFL in the first half of the season. The Jaguars quarterback wasn’t afraid to proclaim he had the best rookie season of any of the quarterbacks in his class, despite his draft selection.

“Better,” Minshew said immediately when he was asked about his numbers compared to rookie quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones, via John Shipley of Sports Illustrated. “Obviously the biggest thing for me is I was able to help my team win. I did that better than any rookie quarterback. 

“You can’t help but compare yourself to those guys, obviously since they were taken before you. You’re always going to have that chip (on your shoulder). I still remember guys that were offered to schools I didn’t get to go to and I didn’t get those opportunities. You just kind of take that with a grain of salt. It’s not about what you do in year one. Hopefully I can continue that into next year and maybe more.”

Based off the numbers, there’s debate on whether Minshew had the best rookie season amongst the quarterbacks in his class. Here were his numbers compared to Murray and Jones, the top two quarterbacks taken in his class.

Completion Percentage

Yards

Touchdowns

Interceptions 

QB Rating 

Record 

Gardner Minshew

60.6

3,271

21

6

91.2

6-6

Kyler Murray

64.4

3,722

20

12

87.4

5-10-1

Daniel Jones 

61.9

3,027

24

12

87.7

3-9

Minshew only played 12 games, but finished the season strong throwing seven touchdowns to one interception in his last four games as the Jaguars finished 2-2 down the stretch. The Jaguars had a poor offensive line and defense, but so did the Cardinals and Giants (Cardinals finished last in yards allowed while Giants were 25th).

Murray became just the third rookie quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards and run for 500 yards in a season. He finished with 93 carries for 544 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. The Cardinals had one of the NFL’s worst offenses in 2018, finishing last in points (14.1) and yards (241.6), but improved to 16th in points (22.6) and 21st in yards (341.7), mainly due to the success of Murray. The Cardinals also played in arguably the NFL’s toughest division in the NFC West, which had three teams finish with nine wins or more. 

Jones had a good rookie season despite the Giants having a poor offensive line and a horrid pass defense, having three games with four-plus passing touchdowns and no interceptions. Jones’s downfall was leading the NFL with 18 fumbles, losing 11 of them. 

Whether Minshew will end up better than Murray and Jones is up for debate, just like who was the best rookie quarterback this year. Minshew won’t be short on confidence, especially when he does have the numbers to state his claim.