Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon could play a bigger role in the team’s offense that season.
T.J. Yeldon has looked impressive in training camp this year. The Jacksonville Jaguars fourth-year tailback is in the final year of his rookie deal which will pay him more than $1.2 million this season.
If the former Alabama star hopes to cash in with the Jaguars or another NFL team next season, he will have to put up the best numbers of his young career.
Based on what the team and the local media have seen of him the past month, it is a possibility he could be a bigger part of the team’s offense in 2018.
During this rookie season, Yeldon gained 740 yards in 12 games. Had it not been for injuries, the Jaguars may have had their second rookie in team history to run for 1,000 – before Leonard Fournette accomplished the feat.
The Jaguars could use both Yeldon and Fournette in the backfield together this season, much like the team used Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew together in the UCLA back’s rookie season when he ran for 941 yards.
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"“I think he is more explosive,” coach Doug Marrone said when asked about Yeldon’s progress this offseason. “He’s stronger. He’s elusive. I think he can carry a load of carries. I just think he has done a nice job.”"
The Jaguars used the 36th pick in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft to grab Yeldon, a player they had coveted. At 6-foot-1 and 223 pounds, he is a solid blocker and pass catcher out of the backfield. He is the team’s best option on third-and-long.
"He wasn’t a factor in the team’s first six games. As Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com wrote, “Yeldon was mainly a third-down back last season, though he was used more heavily when Fournette missed three games (two because of injury).“Yeldon had rushed for 190 of his 253 yards in those three games while sharing the workload with Ivory, but had only 22 carries in the other seven games in which he played."
Fewer runners, more opportunities for all three to make prove how good this running game is.
Yeldon dropped some weight over the offseason and like Fournette, something he said has him feeling better as the season draws closer.
"“I feel better, lighter, quicker, faster, more explosive,” Yeldon said. “I feel like it makes a big difference. I can cut better. I’m doing a lot of things better, like when I first came to college. I feel more comfortable this way.”"