Josh Jacobs

Raiders RB Josh Jacobs Drawing Todd Gurley Comparison

Despite early criticism, the Las Vegas Raiders got their franchise running back in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Heading into 2020, Josh Jacobs is drawing a noteworthy comparison.

The running back position has devalued in the past decade. However, as far as the Raiders are concerned, Jacobs was worth a high draft selection. He averaged 88.5 rushing yards a game in his rookie campaign, and converted 53 first downs all by himself. Also, he helped the Raiders running game come back to life right from the outset. While injuries slowed him down a bit down the stretch, the future seems to be bright.

The Comparison

A bright indication of a promising career is a comparison to current players. Recently, Josh Schrock of NBC Sports compared Jacobs to current Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley. Putting their stats side by side, it’s uncanny how similar their rookie campaigns were.

Josh Jacobs

  • Games Started: 13
  • Rushing Yards: 1,150
  • Touchdowns: 7
  • Rushing Yards Per Attempt: 4.8

Todd Gurley

  • Games Started: 12
  • Rushing Yards: 1,106
  • Touchdowns: 10
  • Rushing Yards Per Attempt: 4.8

Another noteworthy similarity between the two running backs is Gurley converted 47 first downs and Jacobs 53. Needless to say, these two have a lot in common in regards to their first year at the pro level.

Schrock for his part elaborated further on the similitude. “The Gurley comparison might be more apt. Neither Gurley or Jacobs was used much in the passing game during their first season, but Gurley’s career really took off once Sean McVay took over the Rams in 2017.” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden isn’t going anywhere, so we know that much. However, it will be interesting to see how the team incorporates Jacobs into the passing attack in 2020. The addition of Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards, and Lynn Bowden has added another dimension to this offense. Thus, the possibility of Jacobs catching passes and stretching defenses could arise.

Back to Gruden, Schrock made an interesting observation when it came to Jacobs and the aforementioned passing attack. “The Raiders only lined Jacobs up outside or in the slot on 20 of his 460 snaps, so it will be put on Jon Gruden to get his star back more involved in the passing game.” Creating more opportunities for Jacobs in the ground or the passing game will be crucial. One negative aspect of the Gurley comparison is that he hit a sophomore wall with the Los Angeles Rams. If the Silver and Black want to avoid this with Jacobs, Gruden needs to cap the running backs usage.

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*Top Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

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