Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs proved to be an immovable force in his rookie season. Can the newest Silver and Black star continue such dominance in 2020?
Quickly embraced by Raider Nation, Jacobs was the first running back off the board at last year’s NFL Draft. The team had been devoid of a franchise-type runner for a long time though Latavius Murray had a solid stretch. Nevertheless, head coach Jon Gruden found the youngster that would help bring back his power running game. A facet of his offensive scheme that was so key during his first stint. For his part, Jacobs didn’t disappoint and despite losing out on three games due to injury, he proved his worth.
So impressive was his debut year that Pro Football Focus recently highlighted Jacobs as the ninth-ranked NFL running back. It’s safe to say that Gruden, along with general manager Mike Mayock, made the right choice selecting the Alabama product. Remember this was done against conventional wisdom, which has devalued the position so much. In spite of that, Jacobs emerged as the most impactful Raiders’ first-round selection out of three. Looking back, it’s clear the team’s brass was not about to let such foundational talent slip through their hands.
The Raiders have a freight train at running back…
One of the most eye-popping traits that Jacobs has is his strength and how he maximizes it. PFF via Twitter highlighted that Jacobs forced a missed a tackle on 29% of his carrier, calling it “easily the best rate in the league.”
Josh Jacobs forced a missed tackle on 29% of his carries this past season — easily the best rate in the league.
— PFF Las Vegas Raiders (@PFF_Raiders) August 19, 2020
Capitalizing on those forced missed tackles, Jacobs totaled 683 yards after contact in 13 games. Even scarier is that if Jacobs plays all 16 games this year he could smash through his previous broken tackle total of 26.
If Jacobs can become a more balanced running back and become a factor in the passing game, he may be even higher on PFF’s list next year. Ben Linsey briefly touched on that notion, even though he didn’t get see many targets at Alabama, Jacobs could see that change.
“He wasn’t used extensively as a receiver in Alabama’s offense, but he was effective when the ball did come his way, with 21 missed tackles forced on 48 receptions and over 12 yards per catch. There’s reason to believe Jacobs could be a solid receiver out of the backfield in Las Vegas, but it’s still something he needs to show in a larger role.”
We all know how accurate quarterback Derek Carr is and if he’s looking to spread the ball, even more, he might look to Jacobs in 2020.
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*Top Photo: Steve Flynn/USA TODAY Sports