T.J. Yeldon already a top 10 running back


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The Jacksonville Jaguars have had trouble running the ball in recent years, especially since the departure of

Fred Taylor

and the decline of

Maurice Jones-Drew

, but they appear to have found salvation in the form of rookie running back

T.J. Yeldon

. Unanimously ranked behind

Todd Gurley


Melvin Gordon

in the 2015 NFL Draft, Yeldon was lumped into a sizable group of running backs competing to be the third running back off the board.

The Jaguars took Yeldon early in the second round hoping he could come in and immediately assume the role of workhorse running back. So far, Yeldon has delivered, racking up 406 yards in his 6 starts and contributing as a receiver out of the backfield. He is by far the best option for the Jaguars in the backfield, consistently making defenders miss behind the line of scrimmage and excelling as a pass blocker.

Yeldon has been as good as advertised so far, but he’s showing he might become of the league’s best running backs over the next few years. So where does he currently rank? ESPN thinks he’s in the top 10:

"10. T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville JaguarsYoung backs typically struggle in the passing game, but Yeldon has shown very good ability in that area during his rookie season. He has also topped 100 yards rushing in two of his past three games. That includes a 115-yard performance against Buffalo in Week 7, even though Yeldon was feeling under the weather and was coming off a groin injury.“He has good vision, instincts and feel,” one evaluator said. “He can be patient, but when the hole is there, he can hit it. The things that go unnoticed from a statistical standpoint is just what a great job he has done in pass protection and also the feel he has in the passing game as a receiver.”"

I bring it up constantly because it needs to be said – Yeldon has played significantly better than his numbers, specifically his 4.0 yards per carry average, would indicate.

The Jaguars run blocking has been inconsistent at best and downright horrific at times. What Yeldon is doing is almost as impressive as what Gurley has done in St. Louis, sans the explosive plays.

If Yeldon isn’t already a top 10 running back, he will be soon.

Next: Bye week fact or fiction

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