The Jacksonville Jaguars signed running back Toby Gerhart to a relatively lucrative contract last offseason to become the primary ball carrier after the departure of Maurice Jones-Drew. Offseason hype led some to believe Gerhart could have a substantial role in the Jacksonville offense, and possibly even lead the league in carries.
After suffering an injury in the first game of the season, Gerhart never really got into a groove and relinquished playing time to Denard Robinson and rookie 7th round pick Storm Johnson. Despite a nice stretch to end the season, the Jaguars still looked to add competition to the running back position, and they eventually settled on T.J. Yeldon in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
So heading into the thick of the offseason, the Jaguars have one of the most intriguing position battles in the NFL at running back. Erik Lambert over at NFL Mocks went as far to say it’s the 11th best position battle in the league:
"#11: Jacksonville Jaguars: Toby Gerhart vs. T.J. YeldonHis first real shot at a starting job away from the shadow of Adrian Peterson couldn’t have gone much worse for Toby Gerhart. He averages well under 4.0 yards per carry and was eventually supplanted by a rookie who played quarterback in college. That’s as humiliating as it gets. The competition only gets fiercer now with the arrival of T.J. Yeldon. Another in a long line of capable Alabama backs, the kid is big, strong, quick and proficient in every part of the position. He has the ability to start right away. So the clock is ticking with Gerhart, who may never have this chance again."
In reality, I think the battle is more between Yeldon and Denard Robinson, especially after the team came out and said they planned to utilize Gerhart in more of a fullback/h-back role. Robinson was dynamic and explosive during a 4-game stretch in the middle of the season, and his noticeable improvement from year 1 to year 2 is encouraging enough to give him more playing time in year 3. Still, he’s going to have tough time holding back Yeldon, who appears to have a pretty clear track to the starting job.
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