RB Joshua Jacobs, Alabama*

5’10” – 220 lbs. – N/A
Worked his way into the running back rotation as a freshman alongside Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough, posting 85-567-4. Played through a broken ankle the next year and ended up with a 46-284-1 line, then carried the ball 120 times for 640 yards and 11 touchdowns this past year. Also totaled 48-571-5 receiving over the course of his collegiate career. Also returned kicks and played some wildcat quarterback. A little bit smaller than your typical lead back, but still has a pretty strong build. Often carried the ball on one-cut runs, starting with a stretch look and cutting upfield when he found a lane. Runs with a low center of gravity and a physical style; fights for additional yardage with good leg drive and is pretty consistent about falling forward at the end. Can break through arm tackles or get low and run over defenders once he gets going downhill. Makes smooth cuts and sound decisions with the ball; can identify and fit through tight spaces. Knows when to take his foot off the pedal and let blocks develop. Has enough shake to make defenders miss in close quarters. Demonstrates solid balance to stay on his feet through contact. Good finisher near the end zone. However, does take a little bit of room to get going and can be wrapped up in the backfield for losses before he’s built up a head of steam. Deep speed is good but not great. Not the most sophisticated receiver; tended to run a lot of basic releases into the flats or delayed releases on middle screens and caught one or two swing passes per game, although he appears to have pretty reliable hands. Would sometimes take snaps while in motion but didn’t split out very often. Could do a better job of improvising to give his quarterback options. Not retained in pass protection very frequently, but appears to be light on his feet and willing to engage defenders from his feet, with good arm extension. Also does a good job of leading the way as a run blocker out of two-back sets. Doesn’t have a lot of tread on his tires and toughness is beyond question but past broken ankle and physical running style may raise durability concerns. Widely considered the best back in the draft, he identifies lanes, makes cuts to get upfield, and runs with a low pad level and the physicality to break tackles and churn out yardage after the contact, but isn’t the most versatile passing-game option at this point. Still looks likely to be selected within the first two rounds.

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