The Las Vegas Raiders head into the 2021 season with a rushing attack that’ll have plenty of potential. Leading the way will be Pro Bowl running back Josh Jacobs.
Many people scoffed when the Raiders signed Kenyan Drake to a lucrative deal this off-season. People’s rationale was that all available resources should’ve been poured into the defense. However, it’s obvious that Jon Gruden and co. believe they can get a special rushing attack going with Drake and Jacobs. It certainly helps that the Raiders already have a top ten running back, at least according to Pro Football Focus.
Interestingly, the only running back from the AFC West to be listed within PFF’s top ten is Jacobs. This definitely bodes well for the Raiders in 2021, add in Drake, and the team suddenly has the best rushing duo in the division.
The Raiders could have something special in 2021
Another positive with Jacobs receiving such praise, it shows that the organization hit on Jacobs’ first-round selection. So far, you can argue he’s been the best of the bunch since general manager Mike Mayock came aboard. PFF also alluded to this notion, pointing out that Jacobs is in an excellent group so far in his career.
Over the past two seasons, only Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb have broken more tackles on the ground than Josh Jacobs, who has been the best first-round pick the Raiders have had in a number of years.
There are concerns that Jacobs’s physical style will cause wear and tear so early in his career. Well, that’s a fair point but adding Drake will definitely help in that regard. Giving Drake some of Jacobs’ snaps will help lighten the load, therefore, keeping Jacobs fresher down the stretch. This shouldn’t affect his productivity, rather, it could launch him into top-five status.
We saw what an increased workload did to Jacobs, his average yards per carry decreased from 4.8 to 3.9, respectively, Drake lightening the load for Jacobs should increase his potential for explosive plays.
In addition, the Raiders are rebuilding their offensive line to be more athletic, younger even. With Richie Incognito back and Alex Leatherwood’s biggest strength being in run-blocking, Jacobs should be able to eclipse some of the players in PFF’s 2020 list.
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*Top Photo: David Zalubowski/Associated Press