Las Vegas Raiders that must realize their potential in 2022
It is an interesting thing when you have to say a 24-year-old former Pro Bowl player has not truly reached their potential – but this is the case with running back Josh Jacobs.
After setting numerous rookie records in 2019, Jacobs was expected to be the next star running back for the Raider franchise. His 2020 season was a drop-off from his stellar rookie season, despite the fact he was still able to garner a Pro Bowl nod.
Entering his third season, the expectation was that Jacobs would surpass his sophomore slump and establish himself as a true star in the league. This however did not come to fruition. A series of injuries and horrendous offensive line play did indeed play a factor in their disappointing season of Jacobs, however, these excuses will not be allowed in 2022, especially considering Jacobs is in the last year of his rookie contract.
The Raiders will be returning dynamic backup running back Kenyan Drake, whose season ended prematurely due to injury. To make matters even more complicated in a crowded backfield, the Raiders invested a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft in Zamir “Zeus” White. The addition of White is concerning, as he will surely be taking more snaps than your average run-of-the-mill third running back. The arrival of White could either spell the end of Drake’s Raider tenure, or this may be the Raiders preparing for life after Jacobs.
Whatever the case is here, Jacobs needs to show the franchise the promise and faith they had in the back when they selected him in the first round in 2019, a move that many franchises avoid as the value of running backs has steadily decreased over the last few seasons.
The Las Vegas Raiders did not pick until the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but that does not mean there weren't surprises this weekend.
Keep an eye on Jacobs to either fulfill or continue his descent in the wrong direction as the Raiders are filling the running back room in case of his downfall. Jacobs will be needed to show he is the “guy” in the running back room as the Raiders will be heavily dependent on the back to get them to the next level.