There seems to be a recurring theme when it comes to the national media and how they blatantly overlook the Las Vegas Raiders. Most recently, ESPN had their own NFL’s Top 100 ranking and big surprise, only one Raider made it to the list.
The Silver and Black has seen constant roster turnover for what seems like an eternity. As a result, the team doesn’t have much to show for it in the win column. Be that as it may, the Raiders have seen plenty of noteworthy players these past few years such as Khalil Mack and most recently, offensive line anchor, Rodney Hudson. As the team prepares for its inaugural season in Las Vegas, they go in with only one player deemed worthy by ESPN, running back Josh Jacobs.
One of the Raiders’ first-round picks last year, Jacobs came in and ran thru opposing defenses. By doing this, he nearly won the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. With head coach Jon Gruden stating he wants Jacobs to have a bigger workload, it’s possible his numbers will increase in 2020. Jacobs came in at the tail end of ESPN’s countdown at No. 88. Possible snubs could be the aforementioned Hudson or given his yearly improvement, quarterback Derek Carr.
The Raiders Have a Premier Feature Back
An important side note on Jacobs is that as impressive as he was, he’s not immune to injury. His toughness has been established but the Raiders need to find ways to prevent him from taking so much punishment. The Raiders will surely open up the offense with so many additions this offseason but this is Jacobs team. ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez pointed out one way Jacobs could ascend even further in 2020 is getting involved in the passing game.
“In rushing for a franchise rookie record of 1,150 yards, Jacobs set a high bar for himself. Then he went even higher, saying he wants to catch 60 passes in 2020. That’s unlikely, though Las Vegas is betting on his continued ascent as a premier feature back. His preternatural field vision and deceptive power make it a winning wager.” — Paul Gutierrez
NFL players are professionals and more often than not, don’t care for these rankings and lists. The only exception might be the list composed by the players themselves on the NFL Network. If Jacobs’ role does indeed expand in the passing game while simultaneously picking up where he left off, he’ll be higher on ESPN’s list next year.
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*Top Photo: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports