The Jacksonville Jaguars can pick the best player available at each draft choice. That said, although running back is not a pressing need, the best rated player at their draft pick time might be a running back.
To start, the Jacksonville Jaguars chose Leonard Fournette in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. Fournette helped the team go to the playoffs as a rookie. The Jaguars have experienced runners T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant currently on the roster as well. However, this is the NFL and teams always look for upgrades. Jacksonville, like all teams, is an injury away from problems. Let’s look at some running backs. The information in this article is derived from BleacherReport.com, Gil Brandt of NFL.com, Walterfootball.com, and NFL.com.
A man among boys
Saquon Barkley is the highest rated running back in the draft. For example, his very high draft grade of 7.45, projects him as a pro bowl caliber player. Barkley ran a 4.4 forty yard dash. He played for the Penn State Nittany Lions and is 6’0” and 233 pounds. Barkley is an every down runner and as close to a sure thing as possible. No doubt another team takes him long before pick 29.
Two top notch backs
Derrius Guice earned an impressive 6.14 grade at the NFL draft combine. This LSU back is 5’ 10” and weighs 212 pounds. Guice has speed, power, and balance. At the same time, he was injured in 2017 and did not earn impressive stats. That said, Guice is projected to be an immediate starter.
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Ronald Jones is considered an instant starter with a draft combine grade of 6.01. Jones is 5’ 11” and weighs 200 pounds. In addition, he had only two fumbles in 591 carries at the University of Southern California. Jones ran a 4.65 forty yard dash. The major knock is that he may not have enough size to take the NFL pounding.
Three backs rated as possible NFL starters
Sony Michel is a highly rated draft prospect from the Georgia Bulldogs. His combine grade is 5.91. Michel is 5’ 11” and weighs 220 pounds. Michel ran a 4.54 forty yard dash. Moreover, he is a decisive runner and a team leader. However, Michel lacks the agility to make quick cuts.
Kerryon Johnson comes to the draft from Auburn. Johnson graded out at 5.83 and is 6’ 0” and weighs 212 pounds. Johnson was Alabama’s “Mr. Football” his senior year in high school. Positives include an instant burst of speed. However, Johnson is an upright runner which is not a plus in the NFL.
Last is Nick Chubb who is also from Georgia. Chubb earned a draft grade of 5.79. He is 5’ 11”, weighs 228 pounds, and ran a 4.52 forty yard dash. Chubb has the ideal low center of gravity but lacks third down ability.
Obviously there are many talented running backs in the 2018 draft class. Consequently there may be more taken in the first round than in the recent past. Although the NFL is a passing league, a quality running back can make or break a team. Another advantage of running backs is that they can often start immediately for NFL teams. The Jacksonville Jaguars may not choose a back in the draft but we haven’t heard the last of these future rookies.