T.J. Yeldon continues to impress, seems under-utilized


T.J. Yeldon entered the NFL with plenty of questions about how he would be used. He’s impressed in every facet as a workhorse back, but the Jacksonville Jaguars need to use him more.

With under 65 rushing yards in each of the last five weeks, it may be tempting to write off the rookie running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but that would be a mistake.

The talented tailback has 678 yards on the season, is averaging four yards per attempt, and continues to do everything asked of him. While the idea was floated that T.J. Yeldon should split time through the season with converted quarterback Denard Robinson, the rookie has shown that he does not need to do so.

T.J. Yeldon has shown he can be the feature back.

Sure, having 64, 61, 54, 36, and 57 yards in the ground all in a row isn’t going to jump off the page. These aren’t numbers to rival Todd Gurley’s explosion on the scene in 2015. But at the end of the day, Yeldon is putting together a season that could be considered among the best in the NFL at his position in 2015 (via Pro Football Focus). He’s even among the best rookies, regardless of position.

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With a little more support (i.e. better offensive line play), we could see T.J. Yeldon start to put up some significant rushing numbers. Those 50-60 yard days could easily turn into 80-90 yard days or even more 100 yard days for the young running back (Just two 100-yard days so far in his career). With better blocking, we could see this feature back really impress statistically and not just pass the eye test.

But it isn’t all about running in the NFL for tailbacks. It’s also about making plays in the passing game and the last two weeks have really highlight how Yeldon is a complete player for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Averaging 7.9 yards per reception on the season, Yeldon has exploded over the last two weeks, amassing 125 yards on just eight receptions. That’s over 15 yards per reception in the last two weeks as he finds his groove in this offense as more than just a feature back.

He can catch and run with the best of them and his ability underneath the defense is critical with big wide receivers like Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and tight end Julius Thomas drawing attention from defenses elsewhere on the field.

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In my mind, it’s clear that Yeldon can get the job done on the ground and he’s surging as a receiver in the passing game right now as well. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson should get Yeldon more involved in both so that the Jags can take advantage of his talent. He could excel for the Jaguars more with more opportunities.