The Las Vegas Raiders Josh Jacobs was a controversial first-round pick. The value of Running backs as first-round picks in today's passing league is meager compared to the past. Teams can find running backs later in day two, such as Jonathan Taylor, Nick Chubb, or Dalvin Cook.
Jacobs lived up to the billing his rookie year when he broke out onto the scene as a top ten running back. He accumulated 1150 yards in 13 games and helped a surprise Raiders team start 6-4.
2020 and 2021 did not have the same impact on the field as his Rookie season. Jacobs dropped to 4.0 YPC combined after 4.8 his freshman campaign. The injuries started to linger for Jacobs, and the horrendous run blocking didn't help the situation.
Through Week 15, the former Alabama running back appeared to be losing a chance at his fifth-year option. According to PFF, he was 32nd in the league in rushing yards at 3.7 YPC and was 27th in yards after contact. With the offensive line struggling, Jacobs lost trust in the line became apparent with him missing holes when their play started to improve.
The questions about his long-term outlook started to creep into the media. With his fifth-year option on the line after the season, Jacobs's future with the silver and black didn't seem bright.
Week 16 Jacobs turned the corner. The second half vs. the Denver Broncos was his best half of football since his rookie season. It didn't just stop there, and it continued throughout their playoff run.
Since Week 16, Jacobs is second in the NFL in rushing yards with 324. According to PFF, he is back to a rookie year average of 4.70 YPC and has forced 23 missed tackles, which is first overall in that period.
He is tied second with eight runs of 10 plus yards and is 4th in yards after contact. His rushing numbers helped carry the team to the postseason with Jacobs saving his best performance for overtime.
In the 4th quarter and overtime Jacobs rushed for 92 yards on ten carries. He ran for seven carries and 69 yards to help close the match-up vs. the Chargers in just overtime. Jacobs still has the rib injuries he is dealing with, making these runs even more exciting.
Jacobs in OT, 7 carries for 69 yards. 9.86 YPC. The closer pic.twitter.com/ksU0hXodM8— Marcus Johnson (@TheMarcJohnNFL) January 11, 2022
Suppose Jacobs can keep this up going into the postseason; who knows what the Raiders could do. First up is the Bengals, who the Raiders had success rushing the football but failed to make it a focal point.
Raiders had a 65% success rate vs the Bengals rushing the football from my charting— Marcus Johnson (@TheMarcJohnNFL) January 13, 2022
3rd down-0% smh pic.twitter.com/jUzRF1sCBs
The former first-round pick has the chance to make everyone realize why they decided to select him at 24.