Even before Marshawn Lynch decided to retire again – a decision reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter Wednesday morning – the Raiders were likely to select a running back in this week’s NFL draft.
Now it’s looking likely the team could use one of its three first-round draft picks to find Lynch’s successor.
Several NFL draft analysts have penciled in Alabama running back Josh Jacobs as a Raiders selection late in the first round Thursday night, with the team’s 24th or 27th pick.
In fact, longtime NFL analyst Peter King of NBC Sports wrote this week that the Raiders like Jacobs so much, he believes they could move up a few spots in the first round to get him.
King, who calls Jacobs “the best running back in the draft,” says Oakland, Philadelphia (pick No. 25) and Indianapolis (pick No. 26) all are “quite interested” in Jacobs, so the Raiders could believe a move up is necessary.
King says after meeting with Jacbos recently, he believes the Crimson Tide standout is “hungry to be a great NFL player” and believes Oakland head coach Jon Gruden could turn him into a “1,700-total-yard back as a rookie.”
Jacobs, who is 5-foot-10 and 220 pounds, didn’t have massive stats at Alabama because the talent pool is deep and opportunities among running backs were split. But in 2018, Jacobs carried 120 times for 640 yards, a 5.3-yard average and ran for 11 touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 247 yards and three TDs. He also excelled as a kick returner, averaging 30.6 yards on 14 returns, taking one all the way back for a score.
Kalyn Kahler of Sports Illustrated wrote recently that NFL scouts polled say Oakland is the mostly likely landing spot for Jacobs, and that GM Mike Mayock and running backs coach Kirby Wilson attended Alabama’s pro day to scout him.
NFL.com analyst Charles Davis, in his final mock draft published Tuesday, has the Raiders taking Jacobs at No. 24 and compares him favorably to a Raiders ballcarrier who thrived with Gruden and the Raiders in Gruden’s first Oakland stint.
Writes Davis: “A lead runner is a big-time need in Oakland. In Jon Gruden’s offense, Jacobs can be his new ‘Charlie Garner,’ a terrific combo back who creates big plays in the run and pass games.”
This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Raiders-Have-Eyes-on-Alabama-Running-Back-509002511.html.