Josh Jacobs
Where is the Josh Jacobs hype coming from? His on field production doesn’t come close to warranting a first round pick #NFLDraft (Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire)

Looking at mock drafts is always fun. It’s the content that every draft fan drools over even when it’s an awful mock. One common theme I have been seeing is Josh Jacobs in the first round. Actually, scratch that. I’ve seen mocks where Jacobs goes inside the top 10 or top 5. It’s a theme that has never made any sense. My question is where in the world is the Josh Jacobs hype train coming from?

During the draft process, some guys get boosts in their stock for odd reasons that can’t really be explained. It’s a roller coaster. While Josh Jacobs has shown tools to potentially be a productive pro, I don’t understand what Jacobs has done to earn a first round grade?

Jacobs ran the ball for a career-high 120 attempts as a Junior. He only has 251 carries during his entire collegiate career. On one hand, that’s great so that he isn’t beat up entering the NFL. On the other hand, that’s not a big sample size to get a great gauge on Jacobs. Having a strong opinion on him, either way, seems like a feeble effort.

Jacobs came to Alabama as a 3-Star recruit from Oklahoma. The issue at Bama it’s pretty hard to distinguish Jacobs as their best back. Damien Harris was the starter who is also in this draft but isn’t nearly as highly regarded? That seems odd. They also have Najee Harris who got a bunch of carries and is probably the most talented of the trio.

Alabama has stars everywhere. It comes with the territory. It’s not hard to run behind a great offensive line, excellent coaching staff, and weapons at every position on the field. Alabama running backs have been mostly disappointing in the NFL. Since Nick Saban came to Alabama in 2007, the fact is that his running backs have not translated at the NFL level.

  • 2009: Glen Coffee (3rd round)
  • 2011: Mark Ingram (1st round)
  • 2012: Trent Richardson (1st round)
  • 2013: Eddie Lacy (2nd round)
  • 2015: T.J. Yeldon (2nd round)
  • 2016: Derrick Henry (2nd round)
  • 2016: Kenyan Drake (3rd round

That list shouldn’t inspire any confidence and all of those guys were hyped out of college. Coffee, Richardson, and Lacy were complete busts. Ingram took 4 years to figure out how to play. Yeldon is just a guy. Same with Drake. Henry is the best of the bunch and even he was lost until Week 10 this year. The best is actually Alvin Kamara and he couldn’t make the Alabama roster and was forced to transfer to Tennessee. Take a second to think about that.

Based on college production, Jacobs probably belongs in the Kenyan Drake territory. Jacobs rushed for 640 yards on 120 carries. That’s a 5.3 yard per carry average. He also 20 catches for 247 yards out of the backfield. Compare that to the starting back, Damien Harris. Harris rushed for 876 yards on 150 carries. That’s a 5.8 yard per carry average. He also added 22 receptions for 204 yards. Harris rushed for 3,070 yards on 477 carries at Alabama averaging 6.4 yards per run. Jacobs rushed for 1,491 yards on 120 carries averaging 5.9 yards per run. Tell me how Jacobs is significantly better than Harris? I’m not sure that Harris isn’t better than Jacobs for that matter. Either way, how do those stats warrant a first round pick?

I’m not trying to be anti-Josh Jacobs but the hype has gotten way out of hand. Jacobs runs hard. It looks like he has some speed to him but I haven’t seen anything that suggests he has what it takes to become an elite back in the NFL. If you take a running back in the first round, you better be getting Todd Gurley or Ezekiel Elliott. Not one running back that has come from Alabama since Nick Saban arrived has been worth a first round pick. Tell me again how Jacobs is different?