The Raiders Have Already Given Josh Jacobs What Aaron Rodgers Desperately Wanted in Green Bay
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers may not be envious of many active NFL players, especially not after winning his third league MVP last season.
However, if the nine-time Pro Bowler is feeling green for a reason beyond the primary color of his home uniform, Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs might be the reason why.
Jon Gruden allowed Josh Jacobs to suggest players the Raiders should sign
When the Raiders selected Jacobs 24th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, one of the NFL’s longest-suffering franchises knowingly added an explosive running back who frustrated SEC defenses at Alabama.
Clearly, the Raiders are developing a fixation for men like Jacobs. According to Al.com, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden recently admitted that the team listened to its Pro Bowl running back’s input on which players to add through free agency or the draft.
When free agency began, veteran running back Kenyan Drake joined the Raiders after spending parts of the last two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. In July, the Raiders also signed B.J. Emmons, an undrafted rookie running back; Emmons, who finished his college career at Florida Atlantic, spent part of the offseason with the Seattle Seahawks.
Drake, a third-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2016, preceded Jacobs at Alabama by a year. Emmons and Jacobs played together as college freshmen during Drake’s rookie year with the Miami Dolphins. Gruden explained that when his star running back recommended the Raiders look into both players, the team took him up on that opportunity.
“Players know players. … When you got a real player that puts forth as much effort as — and I mean relentless effort — that Jacobs does, he knows who works, he knows who’s got talent, he knows who’s tough, because he’s top-of-the-line in all those categories, so we listen to him.”Jon Gruden
Drake signed a two-year deal in March. Emmons is currently fighting for a spot as a backup running back.
The Raiders already gave Jacobs what Rodgers has wanted for years
The sound you hear is Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst running after realizing Rodgers can read Gruden’s comments.
The truth of modern sports, especially in the NBA and NFL, is players have a much larger platform and voice than they have ever had. If Patrick Mahomes wants a veteran running back, the Kansas City Chiefs are going to hit the phones and possibly bring Adrian Peterson in for a workout. If LeBron James wants a backup point guard gone, that player might just find himself on the next flight to Minnesota.
As we now know, that’s where the Packers went wrong with Rodgers. Instead of allowing their star quarterback to provide input on which veteran players to keep or what positions to address in the draft, the Packers went in their own direction. It’s why Rodgers, who took over as the starting quarterback in 2008, still has never thrown a touchdown pass to a receiver selected in the first round.
Gruden, for all of his questionable coaching decisions and bad losses with the Raiders, understands the value of listening to players. Jacobs respected Drake and played with Emmons at Alabama, and he felt the team would benefit from adding both. Now, the trio of former Crimson Tide running backs are wearing black and ready to score at will.
Rodgers, on the other hand, is still waiting to play for an organization that will ask him for feedback or suggestions on who to sign. That next sound Gutekunst will hear is the Denver Broncos on line one…
Drake and Emmons have a chance to make Jacobs look like a genius
The best thing for Jacobs — and what might potentially be a gut-wrenching sight for Rodgers — will be if the Raiders’ running back is proven correct.
Jacobs advocated for two players, one of whom has never played an NFL snap, and the Raiders listened. Emmons ran for 79 yards and a touchdown across 17 carries in the team’s first two preseason games. Although Jacobs is firmly established as the starter, the Florida Atlantic product could work his way onto the roster as a reserve back who sees special teams action.
Alternatively, the Raiders could keep Emmons on the practice squad. However, his strong preseason performances, which have shown the 215-pound running back is a difficult player to bring down, could convince another team to sign him.
Drake’s contract makes it difficult to foresee a reality where he’s not on the Raiders’ active roster in Week 1. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr can only hope that the Alabama trio, whatever it looks like, is productive enough to help him finally start a playoff game.
As for Rodgers … it’s not too late for the Broncos to call the Packers; that’s all we’ll say.
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