Though most running back rankings do not list him there, Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs will be a top-5 NFL running back in 2020.
As a running back, being selected in the first round of the draft brings extremely high expectations, but for Josh Jacobs, there was no issue exceeded expectations in 2019. The playmaker from Alabama became the first Raiders rookie to rush for over 1,000 yards in his rookie season, finishing with over 1,100 yards in only 13 starts.
During his rookie season, Jacobs suffered a fractured shoulder against the Green Bay Packers in the middle of the year, but still managed to battle through it before being shut down with two games left in the season. Now that he is healthy, Jacobs is going to be featured not only as a runner, but also in the passing game in 2020, making him one of the more valuable running backs in the league.
Jacobs ranked outside of the top-5 by experts
50 NFL scouts, executives and players voted on who they believe the best running backs in football are. For Jacobs, he landed at No. 9 overall, a solid ranking for someone entering his second season, but by season’s end, he will be in the top-5
Jacobs is that rare running back who can not only blow past defenders, but also put his shoulder down and knock them over. He runs the ball with authority, and after missing three starts last season, there is no reason why he cannot eclipse the 1,500-yard mark on the ground this year.
When you couple his running style with the fact that he proved during his time with the Crimson Tide that he can be effective in the passing game out of the backfield, he has the talent to be an all-purpose threat like Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers. The backs ranked above him in the above listed are talented as well, but he could easily leapfrog the likes of Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb, and Derrick Henry in 2020.
Mike Mayock and Gruden have added tremendous playmakers around Jacobs this season, including Lynn Bowden Jr., who can help spell him in the run, and passing game. There are plenty of guys for defenses to focus on in 2020, and for Jacobs, now that he is healthy, it could be a monster season in the Silver and Black.