Expectations are sky-high for rookie running back Josh Jacobs. Even though drafting running backs in the first round of the draft has fallen out of fashion, the Oakland Raiders still took Jacobs with one of their three early picks. The team struggled to rush the ball a year ago and Jacobs should immediately help change that fact. Beyond that, he’ll also be incredibly valuable as a receiver.
Another thing that makes Jacobs great is that he’s a high-character guy and the Raiders will probably never need to worry about suspensions coming his way. If Jacobs has it his way, he’ll be a name that’s talked about for years to come.
Josh Jacobs Thinks He Can be Among Best RBs of All-Time
Jacobs is considered to be a top candidate for offensive rookie of the year. He sat down with NFL Network Analyst and former NFL wide receiver Steve Smith to chat about how things have been going since he got drafted.
“[The team] got high expectations for me,” said Jacobs when asked about his transition to the NFL. “Every day Gruden is telling me that we expect you to win rookie of the year.”
It’s no surprise that head coach Jon Gruden is expecting big things from his rookie running back. He’s already had one rookie running back win the award before in Cadillac Williams back in 2005. The Raiders coach isn’t the only one that believes Jacobs can win the award. Legendary NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson has also stated that he believes Jacobs will be the rookie of the year. As exciting as this all is, Jacobs doesn’t seem content with just putting up a strong rookie campaign.
“I’m not just happy or comfortable being elite,” said Jacobs about his expectations for himself. “I feel like if I want to do it I want to be one of the best to ever do it.”
Since the shelf life for running backs has declined in the past decade, it’s hard to imagine anybody could catch the records set by legends like Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton or Barry Sanders. One thing that works in Jacobs’ favor is that he didn’t get used that much while at Alabama. He’s coming to the NFL with relatively fresh legs. He has the skill set, personality and is in the right system to put up massive numbers. Time will tell how he’s able to hold up.
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Jacobs Still Has to Prove Himself
Despite all the praise that Gruden has been heaping upon Jacobs, he still believes that the rookie has work to do to solidify his spot as a starter.
“He won’t be the feature back until he earns it,” said Gruden at a press conference when asked about Jacobs. He wants to see “how much he can eat” this preseason. “He’s a great kid and has a lot of talent.”
Even though the coach is noncommital, the job is Jacobs’ to lose. Doug Martin and Jalen Richard are talented guys, but the rookie from Alabama has too much upside. His ability as a dual-threat is also really exciting because running backs that can catch are becoming more and more important in the NFL. With most of the offseason practices being non-contact to this point, Jacobs will have a better chance to show off his skillset while the pads are on.