Jon Gruden Has Big Plans For Josh Jacobs In His First Season

Jon Gruden has always loved versatile running backs, so no one should have been surprised when the Raiders jumped on Alabama running back Josh Jacobs in the first round of this year’s draft. Gruden wanted Jacobs so bad, actually, that he recent told a story of the panic attack he had when he thought the Eagles were trading ahead of the Raiders to draft Jacobs.

This was the exchange that took place in the draft room before Jacobs was selected by the Raiders, as told by NBC Sports’ Peter King:

“There’s been a trade,” someone in the Raiders’ draft room calls out. “Philadelphia’s got 22 now. Eagles on the clock.”


The rookie GM running his first draft, Mike Mayock, froze. “I’m like, ‘Sh–!’ Moment of panic. THE EAGLES JUMPED US FOR OUR GUY.”

The coach, Jon Gruden, who’d irascibly told Mayock he’d better not screw up the Raiders’ three-pick first round, jumped out of his chair, seething. “There goes our running back,” Gruden said. Coach and GM knew the Eagles loved the same player they did, Alabama running back Josh Jacobs, and now, moving up from 25 in trade, the Eagles would be in position to steal the guy Gruden had his heart set on making one of the three cornerstone players in his offense.”

The Eagles, of course, ended up drafting an offensive tackle and Gruden ended up getting his guy. And now it sounds like the Raiders plan to give Jacobs as much of a workload as he can handle – and right away.

“They’ve got high expectations for me,” Jacobs told NFL Network’s Steve Smith about the Raiders coaching staff. “Every day Gruden telling me like ‘we expect you to win Rookie of the Year.’”

As for the way Gruden intends to help Jacobs reach those expectations, it sounds like the plan is to move the rookie running back all over the field – even lining him up far away from center.

“They got me playing receiver, too,” Jacobs said, adding that Gruden would like split him wide and run routes against linebackers whenever possible.

Oakland Raiders on Twitter

Jim Brown. Barry Sanders. Walter Payton. @iAM_JoshJacobs has studied some of the best to ever do it – and hopes one day his name will be up there with the rest of them. He sat down with @NFLNetwork’s Steve Smith Sr. to discuss. More ”

What that means is that Jacobs could be in line for a huge season. Imagine the stat line for a running back that gets almost all of Derek Carr’s checkdowns and most of the goalline carries.

Definitely sounds like a Rookie of the Year formula, doesn’t it?

Twitter: @raidersbeat