Born: February 11th, 1998 (21 years old)
Weight: 220 Lbs
Position: Running back
Jacobs was a three-star running back from Tulsa, Oklahoma but didn’t receive any national spotlight until close to a month before signing day. With offers from Missouri, Alabama, and Oklahoma, Jacobs suddenly had his pick of elite programs, but ultimately chose the Crimson Tide. Jacobs recalled his recruitment as a weird process and felt disrespected that the Sooners waited till 2 weeks before signing day to try their recruitment push. “Honestly, if Alabama didn’t offer me I still wasn’t going to Oklahoma,” Jacobs said in an interview with Spenser Davis for Sports Day. The Sooners would go on to regret this decision as Jacobs shined in his role in Bama’s running back committee. As a freshman, Jacobs rushed the ball 85 times for 567 yards, and 4 touchdowns as one of the three running backs the Tide rotated out that season. 2017 was a year full of injuries for Jacobs, missing the first two games due to a hamstring injury and later revealing at the end of the season that he played on a broken ankle since Week 5. In the offseason, Josh had surgery to repair his ankle and came back to have his best collegiate season. Jacobs would resume his dominant play with 640 yards rushing, 11 rushing touchdowns, 247 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns, all on a career-high 140 touches. Though coming into to the season as the 3rd string running back, Jacobs was the Crimson Tides leading rusher in this year’s College Football Playoff and SEC Championship game. Whatever team drafts Jacobs will get a 3 down running back with no tread on the tires, which is very rare, and coveted for NFL teams. Jacobs might have been Nick Saban’s secret weapon in college, but most likely won’t be held to that role in the NFL.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Jacobs is a powerful runner with great feet after contact. He will continue to drive his feet while getting tackled to push for extra yards after contact. Josh is an every-down type back that has shown A+ ability in run and pass blocking. Against Auburn, there were times where it looked like Jacobs was a converted lineman, helping Tua and others break off giant runs. When you have an offensive line like Bama’s, you learn to trust them and be patient with your running. Jacobs showed exactly that, as he followed behind his blockers well to help him average nearly 6 yards a carry in college.
Scouts will question his ability to push for more playing time, and his production at Alabama. Jacobs has only had 15+ touches (including catches) in 3 of his 40 career games and one of those includes his “prove it” game versus Oklahoma. You have to assume everyone Nick Saban brings in is an athlete, but in his limited role with the Tide, Jacobs never was able to flash crazy speed against defenses.
NFL Draft Projection/NFL Comp
NFL Draft Projection
Though I have him as my 3rd ranked running back, I could see him sneaking past Snell in the draft due to name value. There are a lot of teams that will have interest for Jacobs from picks 22-31, and that is most likely where I see him going. Josh would be a perfect spell back for Gurley and the Rams if he falls to them to the 31st, but I believe the Chiefs will make that tough. Jacobs would fit the role that Hunt has left the Chiefs, and would be wise to select him with the 29th overall pick.
There are a lot of people that Jacobs reminds me of. I see where people can envision Alvin Kamara, but I think Jacobs is a tad bit bigger and stronger than Kamara. He can block with the best of them like Zeke and Bell. When it comes down to it Jacobs has flashes of a slightly bigger Ray Rice. Both were overlooked, 3-star prospects coming out of high school. The agility and playmaking ability that Jacobs has is exactly what made Rice such a dynamic back. You want to get the ball in the hands of both athletes and see if they can turn something out of nothing.