From undrafted rookie to Pro Bowl alternate, Oakland Raiders rookie fullback Alec Ingold has exceeded everybody’s expectations this year. It started in the offseason when he beat out veteran incumbent Keith Smith and he has done nothing but impress since. In a league that doesn’t value fullbacks, Ingold has already proven to be one of the NFL’s best in just a little less than one season.
It wasn’t an easy road to the NFL for Ingold. He was the only fullback to get invited to the rookie combine and had to workout beside a bunch of super athletic running backs.
“It was special,” said Ingold in an interview he did with the team. “I was with all the really fast running backs. They hurt my feelings a little bit seeing them all run down so fast… It was one of the first times where I kind of been recognized for being one of the best at a position.”
The combine was a big moment for the fullback but had made an impression on Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden well before he went to Indianapolis.
Ingold Told Gruden He Wanted to Be a Raider
There’s nothing that Gruden loves more than a player who loves football and wants to be a Raider. He’s one of the few coaches who still loves fullbacks, so Ingold made it a point to let Gruden know where he wanted to play when the Raiders were coaching the Senior Bowl.
“I knew that coach Gruden was a huge fullback guy, the whole offense was based on, you know, kind of a throwback mindset,” said Ingold. “I told coach [Greg Olson] the offensive coordinator, I told coach Gruden I want to be a Raider. Like, straight-up, that’s what I told him at the Senior Bowl.”
Even when Oakland brought Ingold on as an undrafted free agent, it still seemed like a long shot he’d be able to beat out Keith Smith, who was a starting fullback for many years. However, Ingold got his chance to take over the starting role when Smith got injured before training camp. He never gave up the position from there and the Raiders are very happy with how the rookie has come along.
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Josh Jacobs Loves Him Some Alec Ingold
There’s probably no one with the Raiders more stoked on Ingold’s success than fellow rookie Josh Jacobs. Ingold deserves a lot of credit for the running back’s potential Offensive Rookie of the Year season. Jacobs will be the first person to acknowledge that fact.
“He means everything (to our run game),” Jacobs said of Ingold. “He’s just as important as the offensive line. He reminds me on certain plays of exactly what I’m supposed to do. I definitely owe him a lot of the credit.”
Jacobs always wants to make sure that the fullback gets the love he deserves.
“I actually pick the runs and I number them off, whether it’s goal-line or short-yardage, I feel like when we want to run… I try to get him the yards just because I know how big of a role he has in this offense that goes unnoticed,” Jacobs said. “I try to get him the love whenever he can.”
With Jacobs and Ingold, the Raiders have a very young and exciting backfield for years to come.