Josh Jacobs wants to be great and in order to be great he has to excel in every part of the game, which is something he’s making a priority.
The Oakland Raiders first-round pick out of the University of Alabama was easily the most-talented running back in the 2019 Draft Class, but that means nothing presently. Now, Jacobs has to prove why he was selected No. 24 overall, and the glimpses he’s shown during training camp have been nothing but spectacular — Saturday, he made an impressive one-handed catch; take a look.
Whether it’s pass protection, catching passes out of the backfield, lining up as a wide receiver, or being able to consistently gash big gains on the ground, Jacobs knows that in order to establish himself as a premiere back in the league he needs to excel in each of those areas, which is why he looks up to guys like Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley.
The former MVP candidate is among the best playmakers in the league. There’s a lot Jacobs could learn from a guy of his caliber and that’s exactly why the rookie is anxious to speak with Gurley when the Rams arrive in Napa, Calif., for Wednesday and Thursday’s joint practice between the two California squads.
“I don’t have a relationship with him, but I definitely spoke to him and told him when he gets here I want to pick his brain a little bit,” Jacobs said. “He’s a great running back in my eyes and he’s top five [in the league], and I just want to see how he thinks, and see what he does to take care of his body, or how he reads certain things and makes cuts.”
The two met in Florida a while back and have had minimal contact, but when it was announced the Raiders and Rams would have a joint practice, Jacobs reached out to the former Georgia Bulldog to say he’s looking forward to observing his work ethic.
Jacobs achieved career highs in just about every statistical category in his final season with Alabama, rushing 120 times for 640 yards with 11 touchdowns, as well as recording 20 receptions for 247 receiving yards, and three receiving touchdowns. He’s proved he can a versatile weapon in an offense and he one of the questions he wants to ask Gurley is how exactly he can hone those skills.
“First and foremost just [want to ask] how he takes care of his body,” he said. “Going through certain injuries that he did and he always bounces back. It’s about longevity, especially at the running back position. That was the first thing I was going to ask him, and then how he tempos his runs, and where do his eyes go in his protections and how does he go about it. I just kind of like to pick people’s brains a little bit.”
Jacobs should have plenty of time to observe Gurley’s every move up close, but he’s not the only player the rookie is taking notes from. Recently, he spoke with Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith about the dedication he put into treating his body right, including everyday, simple tasks, as well as areas he can improve in.
“I talked to Emmitt [Smith] last week and he was giving me a lot of pointers on a lot of things too; whether it’s pass protection, or just about simple stuff like how much water to drink each day,” Jacobs shared. “Things he did and learning from a legend like him is definitely huge.”
There’s no mediocrity in Jacobs. He wants to achieve greatness and he’s using every opportunity he can to maximize his potential. I’m excited to hear what Gurley has to say about him this week.