Toby Gerhart may find his spot on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster a lot more difficult to maintain in 2015 and beyond. The running back position continues to swell with talent for the Jags as guys like T.J. Yeldon and Denard Robinson compete for starting time and Bernard Pierce and Storm Johnson battle it out for the deeper spots on the depth chart.
The Jaguars are likely to carry five running backs into the season and right now it looks like Gerhart is the odd man among a position group budding with promising talent.
Yeldon looks to be at the forefront of the Jaguars’ running back stable and if he can get anywhere near 1000 yards in his rookie season, then he’s going to secure the job for good. He’s going to be given every opportunity to succeed with his new team and the Jaguars are firmly behind him as the running back the team needs.
Just one year ago we were thinking Toby Gerhart could be the running back the team needs.
Instead, we saw Gerhart stumble due to injuries and atrocious offensive line play and he never recovered. He was surpassed by the shiftier running style of Robinson who quickly won all of our hearts during his second season transitioning from quarterback to running back. Robinson was a bright spot for a Jaguars team that had too few shining moments.
Yet when measuring the position group, both Robinson and Gerhart rank low. It makes perfect sense why the Jaguars went out and grabbed a true workhorse running back in the 2015 NFL Draft. They needed someone who they could rely on at the position. Gerhart obviously wasn’t going to be reliable and Robinson is still refining his game as he transitions.
Johnson and Pierce are the intriguing options for the Jaguars with potentially high upside but without productive track records. They aren’t expected to carry the load (like Gerhart was last year) and they are treated as such. Situation role players at best, they are easy to keep around in that capacity. Gerhart’s in-between spot is a bit tougher to nail down.
While I know the Jaguars coaching staff may want to use Gerhart a bit more in wrinkles and try and play to his strengths, it may be best for the team to simply focus on the four other backs and what they bring to the table. Gerhart is an overpriced commodity right now on a team that desperately needs young players to step up and prove they can be building blocks. At this point he may be worth keeping an eye on, but at the same time I can’t help but wonder how successful he’ll be with the Jags in 2015 and if, after just one season, it may be time to move on.
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