Jacksonville Jaguars’ Running Back Logjam


July 27, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Montell Owens (24) during the first day of training camp practice at Florida Blue Health

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a glut of running backs these days and it might not get pretty when it comes time to make the cuts.  Running back is an increasingly devalued position but the Jaguars’ offensive will likely still run through Maurice Jones-Drew and his primary backup, who figures to be Justin Forsett right now.  While rosters swell at this point in the year, the Jaguars seem to have a disproportionate amount of decent running back talent on their roster.

Currently under contract at halfback and fullback are:

  • Maurice Jones-Drew
  • Justin Forsett
  • Denard Robinson
  • Montell Owens
  • Will Ta’ufo’ou
  • Jordan Todman
  • Richard Murphy
  • Lonnie Pryor
  • Jonathan Grimes

It’s a given that MJD, Forsett, and Robinson will make the team. That’s pretty much a given based on previous success, free agency, and the draft.  However, the other spots seem up for grabs.  Can the Jaguars really carry four halfbacks and two fullbacks?  I don’t think so.

For that reason I think that the halfbacks will be capped at three and we’ll see MJD, Forsett, and Robinson in the lineup for week one.  This cuts Murphy (who I thought was underwhelming last season), Todman, and Grimes.

Fullback seems to be wide open.  Owens proved that he could run well last year (five yard average per attempt) despite being considered just a special teams player.  I think he’ll be brought back purely because he’s worth it on special teams and worth it as a reliable backup running back.  If Owerns makes it back on the team, then do the Jaguars carry two fullbacks?  That is the real question for the Jaguars.  Ta’ufo’ou has been a body with the team for a while but has never been given the chance, but I think he might lose out to Pryor.  Pryor, an undrafted rookie, is cheap and offers upside while Ta’ufo’ou is more of a low ceiling known commodity.

Either way, as we look at the Jaguars’ logjam of running back talent, the team is going to be getting rid of a familiar name or two.  I hope they keep Owens and Pryor, but if they only carry one fullback expect Owens to get the nod and become more involved on offense.

– Luke N. Sims

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