Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders
The Alabama product flashed his productive, well-rounded game in his time with the Crimson Tide, albeit with a lighter workload (just 251 attempts in three seasons). He didn’t see as many opportunities as a first-round pick generally would due to Nick Saban’s two-headed monster approach at RB, arguably the only thing stopping him from putting-up huge numbers.
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Jacobs showed his big-play ability in 2018 on a consistent basis. The tweet below from PFF shows just how productive he was. Crossing the goal-line 11 times on the ground, Jacobs led the NCAA with 41% of his rushes being a first down or touchdown.
The first running back off the board in this April’s draft, Jacobs is almost a sure bet to be the Raiders’ featured back in 2018. With middling options like Jalen Richard, Doug Martin, and DeAndre Washington behind him, Jacobs joins the Raiders’ roster as the far-superior back. Richard will still see snaps in passing-down situations, but shouldn’t steal too much work from the rookie.
Jacobs will be playing on a much-improved Oakland offense with a now-respectable air-attack thanks to newly acquired wideouts Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. The team was busy in the open market this off-season, also strengthening their offense line (ranked 28th in 2018) with offensive tackle Trent Brown, formerly of the Patriots.
HC Jon Gruden has an extensive history of success with his no. 1 running backs. Aside from last season’s committee of underwhelming RBs, Gruden’s lead-back has averaged over 1,200 yards and 260 touches per season. This bodes extremely well for Jacob’s 2019 fantasy outlook.
On an offense that should move the ball much better than in year’s past, defenses won’t be able to stack the box against Jacobs. A do-it-all tailback with minimal wear and tear on his body, Jacobs is a rock-solid RB2 with top-10 upside to start the 2019 as he experiences the first-year learning curve.
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