Josh Jacobs is on his way to becoming a star in the NFL. The Las Vegas Raiders running back had quite a rookie season last year. He’s determined to get better. Jacobs has been trying to make himself a more complete player and he’s well on his way, thanks to a Las Vegas teammate.
Josh Jacobs’ college career
Josh Jacobs played his college football at Alabama, where he played three years. His statistics weren’t eye-popping for a running back as he never rushed for more than 640 yards in any one season. He had those 640 yards in his final year with the Crimson Tide and also rushed for 11 touchdowns.
As a freshman, Jacobs was part of a three-man running group and had 85 carries for 567 yards. He rushed for four touchdowns and averaged 6.7 yards per carry. During his sophomore season, Jacobs had his worst season statistically, rushing for 284 yards and a touchdown. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Jacobs played most of the season with a broken ankle.
During his junior year, Jacobs had career highs in attempts (120), rushing yards (640), and touchdowns (11). In the SEC title game against Georgia, Jacobs was named the game’s MVP after scoring a pair of touchdowns and rushing for 83 yards.
Josh Jacobs is an emerging star in the NFL
After his junior year at Alabama, Josh Jacobs declared for the NFL draft. He was selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft. The Oakland Raiders took the 5-foot-10, 220-pound Jacobs with the 24th overall pick. He was the first running back selected.
Jacobs didn’t hesitate to make an impact in his rookie season. Jacobs started in all 13 games in which he played. In his NFL debut against the Denver Broncos, Jacobs carried the ball 23 times for 85 yards and rushed for a pair of touchdowns.
In Week 13 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Jacobs rushed for 104 yards and became the first rookie Raiders running back to rush for 1,000 yards. A shoulder injury kept him out of three of the final four games of the season. Jacobs still managed to collect 1,150 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
Jacobs leaning on a teammate to help make him a complete player
Josh Jacobs wanted to become more of a complete player, not just a runner. He didn’t want to come off the field in passing situations, so he studied a teammate to help him with his route running. Jacobs watched wide receiver Hunter Renfrow to improve his footwork and route-running skills. It helped as he finished with three touchdowns in last week’s win.
“Part of his offseason, he wanted to become a complete player,” Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson said, according to Raiders.com. “He didn’t want to be taken off the field, and part of our challenge to him was to become a complete route-runner.” So he spent time watching Renfrow.
“I did a lot more of not putting myself in a running back aspect but like a receiver,” Jacobs said. “Whether it was going outside in the slot and actually learning how to get off a release, stemming the guy and learning leverage and all the different kind of things like that. And then watching Hunter (Renfrow) on his choice routes, just how creative he is and just try to put it in. Find what I like and make it my own.”