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NAME: Joshua Jacobs

SCHOOL: Alabama

CONFERENCE: SEC

POSITION: Running Back

CLASS: Junior

JERSEY: No. 8

RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star

HT: 5’9

WT: 216 lbs

D.O.B.: 2/11/1998



Vision/Patience – Elite vision to find creases in a timely fashion, rarely hesitating long behind the line of scrimmage. Timing and angle to hit holes is perfect, minimizing surface area for contact and attacking space before defenders can line him up. Consistently runs in structure, but has enough creativity to improvise and bounce runs as needed. Very aware of side panels he can escape out of on the second level.

Burst – Lacks ELITE level burst, but still explosive enough to find the edge of a defense and turn the corner. Acceleration turns big shots into more glancing blows that he can run through. Dangerous with a little space to accelerate into contact.

Contact Balance – Punishing runner who drops the pads at contact and desires to run through a defender’s face. Unfazed by high tackle attempts, ridiculous balance and the ability to shrug off opponents and keep his feet moving forward. Always finishing forward. Brings the fight to defenders and can physically overwhelm them at times. Low contact has tripped him up easily more than anything, doesn’t step out of the shoe-string arm tackles as well as some other backs.

Receiving – Consistently productive as a receiver over the course of his Alabama career. Makes people miss in space and will run through contact for extra yardage. Has flashed the ability to run the seam and track balls over his head. Used more dynamically than your average flat release, angle routes, wheel routes and verticals are all in his repertoire.

C.O.D./Agility – Good change of direction and the suddenness to cut on a dime. Surprises defenders with his lateral bounce. Plays on the balls of his feet and can re-direct quickly as a result. Shiftier in space than you would expect given his compact frame.

Speed – Lacks big-time breakaway speed, but isn’t slow either. Unlikely to be a home-run hitter at the NFL level, but enough burst and speed to hit chunk plays with regularity.

Competitive Toughness – Extremely tough, physical and hard-working. True rags-to-riches story. Brings it every single play he’s on the field, whether he’s getting the ball or not. Extremely reliable and smart player.

Ball Security – 3 career fumbles in 317 touches, just one coming last season. Two of his three fumbles came as a freshman. Not a concern.

Pass Protection – Gets after opponents in pass protection. Excellent blocker with plenty of experience. Processes blitzes well and moves quickly to pick up defenders. Drops his pads and keeps his eyes up.

Athleticism/Size – Short, powerful frame is actually fairly ideal for a running back. Limited surface area for defenders to make contact with, plays extremely strong. Not an elite athlete, but clearly has the movement skills and athletic tools to be successful in the NFL.


BEST TRAIT – Vision/Decision-Making

WORST TRAIT – Speed

RED FLAGS – None

A team-first, high character prospect with relentless physicality on the field, Jacobs’ best trait might be his outstanding vision behind the line of scrimmage and at the second level. His active eyes and ability to find space with timing and velocity allow him to maximize almost every carry he gets.

That number isn’t plentiful however, as Jacobs suffered nagging injuries during his sophomore year that kept him under the radar, and didn’t break out until the end of his junior year. The lack of touches will bother some, as Jacobs certainly can’t hang his hat on college production, but the traits and ability are undeniable on tape. He’s extremely talented, young (turns 21 at end of February) and already extremely well-rounded. Should be an immediate contributor in the NFL with a great chance to be the first running back off the board.

Vision – Looks to predetermine some of his cuts when he’s pressing into the LOS and at times makes one cut too many. At his best when he can bound into the second level with some momentum before then looking to break down tacklers.

Feet/Change of Direction – Dynamic. Foot speed is very sudden and he also brings explosiveness to his cuts. Ability to collect himself from full speed and bound in another direction have broken many pursuit angles when pressing into the sideline.

Durability – Low mileage back that doesn’t have a lot of wear and tear. Durability as a more full-time player is still to be determined, but will enter the NFL with a clean bill of health and minimal wear and tear on his body. Runs *hard* late in games thanks to split duties.

Balance – Natural mover who can tie defenders on a string and pull himself out of the way and carry at a high rate of speed. Contact balance is strong and has pin-balled off of body blows on numerous occasions. Love his springy ability to dart into multiple cuts.

Pass Protection – Doesn’t offer the kind of results you’d hope for. Can be slow getting himself braced for contact and doesn’t always step out to broaden angles for pass rushers. He’s eaten a lot of blocks instead of throwing his hands and stunning.

Elusiveness – Pretty impressive blend of traits: he can hurdle you, sidestep you or run you over. His short area quickness and acceleration are notable and he shows good toughness as well to absorb blows and sustain himself for additional yardage.

Receiving Ability – Good ball skills, has caught a few balls further down the field in addition to check-down role. Effort level on swing routes can be pedestrian, however, would like to see more consistent effort. Soft hands. Like his ability in space to make the first man miss.

Short Yardage Skill – Urgency and stubbornness to fall forward has allowed him to push past contact in the backfield on numerous occasions. Has the needed lower body explosiveness to squat and pull himself out of wrap up challenges around the legs. Gets skinny falling into gaps.

Football Intelligence – Limited reps and limited workload but shows a natural understanding of how to make defenders miss and how to create splash plays. That said, his consistency needs work and the only way to do so will be by learning on the job.

Effort – Mixed bag. I love his effort to get out in front of 2-back runs and throw a block. He runs hard. But he’s complacent as a check-down option and needs to have more enthusiasm about pass protection if he’s going to get a high work volume.


BEST TRAIT – Feet/COD

WORST TRAIT – Effort

BEST FILM – Mississippi State (2018)

WORST FILM – Clemson (2018)

RED FLAGS – None

Joshua Jacobs projects most favorably into an outside zone rushing system. Jacobs has some lulls in his vision between the tackles and can over-think his cuts, yet in an OZBS Jacobs’ role is simplified: make a cut north and off to the races. Jacobs brings wonderful spring in cuts and and can effectively plant his foot in the ground to drive vertically. Jacobs has plenty of tools for being a more every-down prospect but needs technical work and boosted effort to reach his ceiling.

Vision – Great vision through the first level to regularly attack the designed gap in the defense. Has an urgent style of running that attacks the first daylight available, but is not overly hasty and never compromises his blockers. Has a great knifing action on outside zone looks — gets into holes right as they develop and maximizes his burst.

Burst – Has tremendous quickness and gets into the hole in a hurry. Straight-line burst is great but explosiveness through angles is truly elite. Maintains great speed around a hoop and can generate velocity at bad angles to the ground. Ability to stick a foot in the ground and get upfield confounds angles. Can hit a second gear when he gets to the second level.

Change of Direction – Wins with body control and explosiveness. Urgent running style makes him out of control at times, but has impressive lower body strength to gather and spring in a blink. Ability to string together multiple moves by blending instinct, body control, and balance is eye-popping. Regularly embarrassed second-level defenders and created yardage by forcing tacklers to whiff. Does not get overly jump-cutty and try to reverse field, which is an admirable restraint.

Power – Brings the thunder. Will quickly transition from ball-carrier to punisher when he knows he’s tackled but has time to create contact. Maximizes shorter, denser frame and thick lower half to explode into contact and pick up dirty yardage. Has the leg drive to carry smaller defenders indefinitely. Voracious blocker who wants to pancake defenders 5” his superior.

2nd Level Speed – Not a breakaway runner but has some wheels. Didn’t get into the third level a ton off of tape I saw, but reps as a returner illustrate long speed and ability to maintain velocity while changing direction. Not a concern here.

Contact Balance – Not elite as advertised, but still a strong trait nonetheless. Urgent running style lends itself to being out of balance/control, which mitigates contact balance on tape. Well-built frame and initiating contact, however, lead to strong contact balance when he feels a hit coming/isn’t moving at full speed. Uses height well to slink under tackling attempts, but can get chopped down at the legs at times.

Decision-making – Sound and true. At his best when getting upfield. Not super experienced on power concepts but regularly sticks to the plan and maximizes yardage. Will freelance a touch on inside zone/iso/duo concepts, but with his playmaking ability, it’s excusable. Very strong outside zone runner who can create his own space.

Pass Catching – Has the basics down: can catch with his hands, work into space up the field, and adjust to the football on the hoof. Some issues locating and tracking the flight path of the football, especially over the shoulder, which leads to drops. Lack of catch radius could hurt him here, but made some great snags away from his frame. Fine projecting him to an increased NFL role.

Pass Protection – Has the want to and some of the know how. Builds his base and looks to strike — regularly creates disruption and delays the onset of the rush plan. That said, is too interested in the finish and needs to learn how to activate his hands, move his feet, and engage over time. Desire for contact is unteachable and admirable, however.

BEST TRAIT – Change of Direction

WORST TRAIT – Pass Protection

RED FLAGS – None

PLAYER COMPARISON – None yet

Josh Jacobs takes the crown of RB1 because of his tremendous blend of physical traits and hungry play style. There is nothing lacking the physical aspect of Jacobs’ game: he is a tightly-strung runner who regularly makes the first tackler miss, or takes the first tackler for a 4 yard ride. He blends multiple moves together seamlessly, in a way you can’t teach — it’s born of instinct, and a wonderfully powerful lower half that stops and starts him on a dime.

Jacobs’ play demeanor may be a bit reckless, but you can’t help loving it: he fights for every yard, and then a few more when he’s on the ground. It leads you to believe he can round out the question marks in his game, such as his pass-catching upside as a multi-target player. As a lead blocker, Jacobs shows the same intensity, but it can betray him in pass protection, wherein he sells out on one strike. Despite the fact that he isn’t a ready-made third-down back, Jacobs still profiles as an eventual bellcow at the next level.

Feet – Compact and quick footwork. Can quickly angle himself to squeeze thorough a gap and gets excellent lateral width in his cuts when necessary. Does well to accelerate his feet through contact. Smoothly strings together moves. Fluid plant and drive ability with impressive change of direction quickness.

Vision – Sees the field cleanly and anticipates creases. Patient to allow blocks to take form and effectively works off them. Decisively commits to his course and is never stuck in the same area. Excellent vision in the open field. Has great vision in the hole to set up his next move. Illustrates outstanding spatial awareness and the creativity needed to get himself out of trouble. Will occasionally get greedy and ignore an open window and opt to bounce the run or look for a cutback unnecessarily.

Pass Protection – Understands how to position his frame to pick up rushers. Has a stout anchor to absorb contact. Prides himself in making big hits in pass pro but it can come at the expense of technique. Needs to channel his aggression and make sure to get his hands fit and hips leverage instead of looking to blow up the rusher.

Receiving – Offers considerable upside in this area. Has been a steady contributor across three seasons at Alabama in the passing game. Is more than just a check down/screen option although he is excellent in those roles to make the first man miss and create. Can win down the field and features excellent ball skills and hands. Strong elusive traits and burst enable him to separate.

Balance – Runs with excellent body control, even when making jump cuts and extend his plant foot well outside his shoulders. Illustrates the ability to sustain his momentum through contact and gain additional yardage. Unaffected by arm tackles. Easily absorbs contact.

Elusiveness – Terrific agility for his size and is able to make tacklers miss in space. Does well to manipulate tacklers and make it difficult for them to come to balance and square up. Gets out of trouble with his twitch. Makes dynamic and fluid cuts. Bouncy.

Power – Will explode into tacklers and dare them to exchange power with him. Exceptional leg drive and the ability to move piles and take tacklers for a ride. Runs with good leverage and low center of gravity which accentuates his power.

Competitive Toughness – Kind of runner that will stick his face in a fan and like it. Always falls forward and grinds for every inch. Physical and aggressive taking on tacklers. Looks to deliver knockout blows as a blocker. Has even had some impressive reps as a lead blocker. Elite competitor.

Versatility – Jacobs is a scheme-transcendent talent that offers the ability to grind out tough yards, win outside the tackles, pass block and contribute as a receiver. Average over 31 yards per kick return in 2018 on 13 attempts including a touchdown. Does everything.


BEST TRAIT – Competitive Toughness

WORST TRAIT – Breakaway speed?

RED FLAGS – None

Jacobs offers a blend of size, power, burst, balance, vision, elusive traits and receiving ability that makes him a fit for any scheme. Part of a deep stable of backs in college, Jacobs enters the NFL with minimal tread on his tires which should help elongate his career. There are no limitations in how Jacobs can produce and he has the upside to become one of the NFL’s premiere running backs. Whether it’s a short yardage run, creating in space, pass blocking or lead blocking for his teammates, his competitive demeanor is evident in everything he does.