Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
When the Jaguars busted into free agency, the name that caught some by surprise was running back Toby Gerhart, the back up to the NFL’s best running back.
Gerhart’s acquisition was not only a surprise to many Jaguar fans, but also a universal sign that Maurice Jones-Drew would not be back in Black and Teal.
"“I had the skill set to be a [NFL] starter from the onset, but I was playing behind one of the best in the game,” said Gerhart.“I think I’m in a unique situation. Even though it’s my fifth year in the league, I can come in and be a dominant guy. I’m ready for my shot now.”"
People forget that Gerhart almost won a Heisman Trophy at Stanford, as he lead the nation in rushing yards. During his time with the Vikings Gerhart was rock solid as a fill-in. His best season was 2011 when he started 5-games for the injured Adrian Peterson, in which he averaged 4.9 yards per carry. He also doesn’t put the ball on the ground, something the current stable of running backs on the roster struggled with last year.
Personally, I think he’s a great pickup for the Jaguars, especially in this year’s running back free agent market. Gerhart seems like a guy that wants to prove himself, not someone who expects to be the center of attention. Don’t get me wrong, guys like MJD and Chris Johnson are proven backs, but there’s too much baggage with each of them.
His success/failures will almost certainly be compared to Maurice Jones-Drew for some, at least during the 2014 season, and rightfully so. I’ve spoken with people who still don’t understand why the Jaguars didn’t offer Jones-Drew the same contract numbers. The fact of the matter is, we don’t know what the Jaguars offered, and whether or not Maurice Jones-Drew had other motives for testing free-agency. What we do know is that he’s in Oakland and Gerhart is a Jaguar and that’s what counts.