Can T.J. Yeldon Break 1,000 Yards Rushing in Rookie Year?


The Jacksonville Jaguars are finally set up to take a big step forward in terms of competing for a playoff spot. Three years into a massive rebuild, the Jaguars finally have quality depth to go along with a handful of promising young players at multiple positions.

Still, the Jaguars are forced to rely on a few rookies to come in right away and make an impact. This year, the onus falls on second round pick T.J. Yeldon. With Dante Fowler Jr. out for the year thanks to a knee injury in rookie minicamp, all eyes are now on the running back out of Alabama.

The third running back off the board in the 2015 NFL Draft, expectations are actually relatively high for Yeldon. Bucky Brooks over at recently posted some projections for the top rookies in this year’s draft, and he has high hopes for Yeldon:

"Best-case scenario: Yeldon follows in the footsteps of Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor to lead the Jaguars out of the doldrums in the AFC South. The 6-1, 226-pound runner was an underrated prospect through much of the pre-draft process, but he ended up going early in Round 2 and could flash enough potential as an inside/outside threat to garner serious consideration as Offensive Rookie of the Year.Worst-case scenario: The Jaguars’ suspect offensive line and questionable passing game prevent Yeldon from finding many creases. If Blake Bortles is unable to win with precise passing from the pocket, Yeldon won’t get enough carries to allow the Jags to successfully ride a ball-control approach.My projection: 235 carries, 1,050 yards and five touchdowns; 35 receptions, 300 yards and three scores."

Brooks seems fairly optimistic about Yeldon and his chances in Jacksonville’s offense, but his worst case scenario is fairly plausible. The Jacksonville offensive line needs to improve significantly to give Bortles and Yeldon any kind of chance, and Bortles needs to take that next step as well. The offensive front seems improved on paper, but we’ll have to wait and see how much better they will actually be.

Still, Brooks is projecting over 1,000 yards rushing for Yeldon, which would be absolutely phenomenal. The Jaguars need some consistency in the run game, and Yeldon ripping off over 4 yards a carry would put the offense in good positions early and often.

Hopefully Yeldon lives up to Brooks’ lofty prognostication.

Next: Ace Sanders Stepping Up

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