#22 Josh Jacobs, Running Back, Alabama
Josh Jacobs is the first running back in the Raider Ramble Draft Top 32 in 32. In recent years, the value of running backs in the NFL has decreased because more teams are utilizing them in a committee approach. This negatively impacts Jacobs ranking and draft stock. He isn’t the game changing back a lot of teams would feel comfortable using a top ten pick on, but can certainly be a valuable pick for teams picking in the 20s and 30s.
Jacobs is a one cut and go type of runner, meaning that after getting the ball, he looks for the hole and tries to get straight up field. He is not going to dance around and try to beat defenders with multiple juke moves. He is a decent pass blocker and will stay in the pocket looking for work in pass protection, which is rare for a running back because a lot of them will leave the pocket if defenders don’t blitz right away. This leaves teams susceptible to delayed blitzes. While he was productive as a receiver out of the backfield at Alabama, he isn’t a very good route runner and that will limit his abilities as a receiver in the NFL. Because of his skill set, he is somewhat reminiscent of former Raider Latavius Murray.
Fit for the Raiders
The Raiders could use a feature running back and Jacobs will likely be on the board when the Raiders use their second first round pick. If Oakland is considering Jacobs, they should be very cautious about using a first round selection on him. At Alabama, he didn’t show that he could be a team’s feature back. Granted, there was more competition for the ball than normal, but it’s hard to rationalize spending a first round pick on a guy who has only shown that he is a rotational back and value at the position as a whole is decreasing.
Jacobs and the Eagles seem like a match made in heaven. Philadelphia heavily utilizes the running back by committee approach and Jacobs showed in college that he thrives in it. While the Eagles added Jordan Howard, he enters a contract year and Philadelphia may want an insurance policy. Running back Lamar Miller turns 28-years old later this month and only carries a dead cap number of $1 million. The backfield combination of D’onta Foreman, Deshaun Watson and Jacobs could become one of the more dynamic backfields in the NFL. As mentioned above, the Raiders are in need of a running back, head coach Jon Gruden is dead set on adding one and Jacobs is the best one available. He could very well be the selection at pick 24.