T.J. Yeldon continues to get more buzz as the 2015 NFL Draft nears. Now with 21 days left to go teams with running back needs, like the Jacksonville Jaguars, are starting to narrow down their draft boards.
With an official visit to the Jaguars, T.J. Yeldon is certainly on their radar.
The Jaguars are looking for running back help as they aim to move Toby Gerhart to a more varied role (like fullback) and Denard Robinson didn’t show enough in 2014 to warrant being the bell cow. Bernard Pierce is struggling to kickstart his career and the Jaguars are pretty thin behind those three. Storm Johnson is on the roster and there’s excitement about him but he hasn’t shown much.
Bringing in someone like Yeldon would bring more excitement to the position and bring a more proven back into the mix. Denard Robinson is still transitioning from playing quarterback at Michigan.
Because the Jaguars have so many needs, it isn’t likely that they target running back too early. While the top of the second is possible, bringing in a guy like Yeldon who could be a late second or third round guy would enable the Jaguars to focus on filling another need with the 36th overall pick.
Yeldon is a top-10 running back in this year’s draft class, but to me he seems to be a tad bit behind other players at his position. His position is deep this year, but with guys like Jay Ajayi and Tevin Coleman heading up the “other guys” behind Melvin Gordon and Toddy Gurley, Yeldon just doesn’t seem as impressive. He didn’t wow at the NFL Scouting Combine and while he has had some strong seasons at Alabama, his average per carry dipped to 5.0 in 2014.
Where Yeldon can be a good fit is as a receiver out of the backfield. Chase Goodbread at NFL.com agrees and ranks him third among the top receiving backs in this year’s class. Averaging over 10 yards per reception for two of his seasons at Alabama he is a proven threat with the ball in his hands on any down (through the air or on the ground).
If the Jaguars do decide to bring T.J. Yeldon in, it is almost guaranteeing that the backs will split time as a committee in Jacksonville, utilizing the strengths of all of them to put together a competent running attack.
Personally, I’d prefer it if the team went in a different direction.
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