Position: Running back
Weight: 216 pounds
School: Alabama Crimson Tide
Joshua Jacobs 2019 NFL Draft Profile
Joshua Jacobs is a four-star prospect who was considered the number two overall player in Oklahoma and ranked as the number six overall running back nationally out of high school. He had gaudy numbers in high school, averaging 15.1 yards per carry and 245.8 yards per game as a senior while scoring 31 rushing touchdowns.
As a freshman and sophomore, he wasn’t asked to tote the rock too often. During those two seasons combined, Jacobs ran the ball just 131 times, to an average of 6.5 yards per carry. The production was there, but unfortunately, the volume was not.
Jacobs’ junior season, however, is where he made his mark. He was versatile in both the offensive and special teams portion of the game. He finished his college career averaging 28.6 yards per kickoff return. There were many ways he contributed to this high-powered Alabama offense this year. He totaled 15 touchdowns on the year (11 rushing, three receiving, one kickoff return). Jacobs was also selected as the MVP of the SEC Championship Game.
Although Jacobs didn’t get a lot of usage during his career at Alabama, he made the most of the opportunities he had. He averaged nearly six yards per carry and nearly 12 yards per reception. His production speaks for itself.
- Breaks down tacklers at the second level;
- Very quick and sudden foot speed;
- Breaks pursuit angles with his change of direction;
- Can collect himself at full speed and make quick cuts;
- Not a lot of wear and tear at the college level;
- Good balance when contacted;
- Very springy when making multiple cuts;
- Ability to run or hurdle over his defenders;
- Great elusive traits;
- Offers good receiving ability as a check-down or down the field receiver;
- Falls forward more often than not;
- Has very good lower body strength and explosion;
- Can get skinny to find his way through small holes;
- Ability to run through arm tackles around his legs.
- Can make too many cuts at times;
- Eats a lot of blocks in pass protection;
- The effort needs to be there more on routes;
- Needs more work to become consistent;
- Struggled at times against top college defenses;
- Doesn’t have great top end speed.
NFL Comparison: Frank Gore
Projection: Second round
Jacobs is a very talented running back who got a very minimal amount of usage in college. Teams looking to draft him are going to see his production from this year and the lower amount of contact he endured throughout his college career and see that as a huge positive. Add on all of the great traits he possesses as a runner and he will end up being an early round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The way he can collect himself when he’s at full speed and make quick cuts with his great foot speed and breakdown second level defenders is outstanding. His quick and sudden change of direction is a nightmare for defenders trying to get an angle on him.
When he is contacted, he has tremendous balance to fight through it and stay upright. When he can’t stay upright, he has the stubbornness to fall forward. His lower body strength and explosiveness really allows him to fight through those arm tackles, even when they’re around his legs. When he needs to make a player miss, he displays great elusiveness. He is very springy when making multiple cuts. He owns the trait of being able to try and make you miss, or run you over if he so chooses which becomes a headache for defenders.
Listed at 216 pounds, Jacobs isn’t exactly a small back, but he can get small and find his way through tight holes and get to the second level of defenses with apparent ease. There are times, however, when Jacobs can’t seem to find a lane, that he makes too many cuts and becomes too indecisive. He doesn’t own the best top-end speed, though, with his shiftiness and quick feet, that should make up for that at the next level. I want to see more urgency out of him with every route he runs. Wheel routes he seems to be more lackadaisical on than he should be with his receiving ability. Overall, Jacobs grades out to be a top tier running back in this class and has a bright future in the NFL.