Rookie Rundown: RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama

Rookie Rundown: RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama

NFL Draft

Rookie Rundown: RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama

By

(Mark Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

Despite not being the starter in any of his three years at Alabama, running back Josh Jacobs could be the first player selected out of his positional pool in the upcoming NFL draft.

Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 220 pounds
40 time: 4.54 seconds

He was utilized sparingly as a true freshman but managed to produce in a respectable way. A strained hamstring cost him two games to open the 2017 season, and he never really found his groove afterward. Jacobs emerged in 2018 despite starting only one game behind Damien Harris.

RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama — stats (2016-18)

Year
Att
Yards
Avg.
TD
Long
Rec
Yards
Avg.
TD
Long
2016
86
564
6.6
4
56
14
166
11.9
0
30
2017
46
284
6.2
1
45
14
168
12.0
2
38
2018
120
640
5.3
11
59
20
247
12.4
3
33

Jacobs scored 14 total touchdowns last year and showed an ability to create chunk plays in a number of fashions while in Tuscaloosa. He even contributed on special teams, returning a punt for a score in 2016 and a kickoff in ’18.

Pros

  • Versatility — can play three downs and from just about any formation
  • Nose for the end zone and is adept in short-yardage situations
  • Natural hands-catching receiver out of the backfield and has experience with downfield routes
  • Low mileage and a vaulted ceiling
  • Tough, determined runner whose style forces defenders to commit to the tackle
  • Capable of wearing down defenses and getting stronger as games progress
  • Runs with a perfect center of gravity
  • Special teams experience and success
  • Lateral quickness jumps off the screen
  • Displays quality vision and a jump-cut to match
  • Patient runner in zone setups and still displays decisiveness
  • Rhythmic runner who churns out favorable gains in succession

Cons

  • Rarely breaks a home run — easily caught from behind by faster defenders in the open field
  • Limited experience in pass pro
  • Defaults to contact more often than not
  • Mostly has one gear after breaking the line of scrimmage
  • Has the makeup of a three-down back but hasn’t been truly tested as one

Fantasy football outlook

Jacobs should be a late first-rounder and could wind up with the Baltimore Ravens (22nd), Houston Texans (23rd), Oakland Raiders (24th and 27th picks) or Kansas City (29th). Philadelphia (25th) seems unlikely to choose him after trading for Jordan Howard. Baltimore also is on the outside looking in after landing Mark Ingram, although he is in the twilight of his career.

The best NFL comparison may be Ronnie Brown. Both share a desirable blend of quickness, size, hands and three-down ability. Jacobs probably has a lower ceiling than Brown did coming out, but the latter never materialized into the star Miami expected with the No. 2 pick.

Jacobs, in the right situation, is an RB2 in 2019 fantasy drafts. Without knowing his future team, he has flex consideration on his skills alone. The best immediate fit for Jacobs would be Oakland or Kansas City.

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