Josh Jacobs from the Las Vegas Raiders is already an elite running back, and Pro Football Focus ranked him No. 2 in elusiveness.
The then-Oakland Raiders made Alabama running back Josh Jacobs one of their three first round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, selecting him with one of the picks got from the Chicago Bears for Khalil Mack. As a rookie, Jacobs exceeded all expectations, proving he could run around, or through defenders, becoming the first Raiders rookie to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.
After an electrifying rookie campaign, Jacobs put the NFL on notice, and the accolades continue to roll in for the second-year back. He showed as a rookie that he is not only tough to catch, but also tough to bring down, and was recently ranked pretty high in terms of elusiveness according to a recent ranking.
The author, Ben Lindsey, of Pro Football Focus’ recent rankings of running backs’ elusiveness defined it as a measure of how hard it is to take a running back down. Considering that Jacobs was No. 1 in forced missed tackles last season, it is easy to see why he was ranked at No. 2 overall.
In fact, Lindsey wrote this:
"If this was strictly a 2019 list, Jacobs would occupy the top spot. Chubb got the nod after a second straight season of elite play, but Jacobs’ rookie season was hard to ignore."
The reason for Chubb being No. 1, according to Lindsey, was the fact that he has been doing it for two years. Outside of that, Jacobs proved to be the most slippery running back in the league last year, and he is just getting started.
In terms of the rest of the list, Tennessee Titans Derrick Henry, New Orleans Saints Alvin Kamara, and Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings rounded out the top-5.
An incredibly productive rookie season
Jacobs was able to do so many amazing things as a rookie, and what made it even more special was the fact that he fractured his shoulder in the middle of the season against the Green Bay Packers. That did not slow Jacobs down until the end of the season, when he missed the final two games.
Still, he was able to rush for over 1,100 yards, scored seven touchdowns, and had five games in which he went over 100 yards. In three games, including the season opener, Jacobs had two touchdowns, and established early on that he was more than ready for the NFL level.
The most exciting part about Jacobs’ rookie season was the fact that he had to operate with only one shoulder for most of the year. At Alabama, Jacobs proved he could be a tremendous asset in the passing game, something quarterback Derek Carr is certain to take advantage of in 2020.
Jacobs is the kind of do-everything back that the Raiders have been lacking, and when you consider he has Jalen Richard and rookie Lynn Bowden Jr. behind him in 2020, he should be able to stay fresh throughout the season. If he can avoid injury, he will catapult himself into the conversation of being the best back in football.
It is incredible to think what Jacobs was able to do as a rookie in 2019, and how much Jon Gruden is going to utilize his skill set in Year 2. This is a kid who should have taken home the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year honor last season, and in 2020, look for him to be an even bigger part of what should be an explosive Raiders offense.