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 - Frank Gore
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.
ROUND GRADE - Early 2