T.J. Yeldon is the guy the Jacksonville Jaguars wanted in the 2015 NFL Draft. There’s no doubt about it, Yeldon was the guy that head coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell wanted and they went out and got him at the top of the second round.
Some called the Yeldon selection a bit of a reach, especially with other talented running backs left on the board. Others lauded the pick, praising Bradley and Caldwell for snagging the guy they believe in.
The addition of Yeldon is certainly cause for celebration for the Jaguars, especially after struggling to run the ball with Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart last season. His value is also increased because first round selected Dante Fowler Jr. found himself injured for the season.
Yet we shouldn’t all forget that DeMarco Murray was the white whale for the Jaguars this offseason. With reports of their interest permeating the media for a few weeks before free agency and the days after free agency started, it was a bit of a disappointment to see one of the best running backs in the game get away from the Jaguars. Murray was the target, and while we now have a nice, young running back to hang our hats on, it would still have been nice to have Murray in the backfield.
T.J. Yeldon is good and from all reports he is turning in performances expected of him. He’ll alleviate pressure on Blake Bortles, he’ll bring balance to the offense, and he’ll help make that revamped offensive line look good. But will he make us forget DeMarco Murray?
It’s almost unfair to put even more pressure on a rookie running back than is already on Yeldon’s shoulders. Comparing him to the reigning rushing champion who is on a far more complete team and with an offensive mastermind for a head coach may just be a bit harsh. Though through the 2015 NFL season, I think I will find myself looking over at the Philadelphia Eagles and wondering “what if…” Hopefully I won’t have to because Yeldon will be putting up some impressive performances through the season.
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