Running back Tank Bigsby hasn't had the impact the Jacksonville Jaguars expected when they made him a third-round pick in this year's draft. In fact, he's been responsible for a handful of costly mistakes. But in spite of his woes, the Jags are sticking with him.
Bigsby was flagged for offsides on a fourth-and-5 special team play in Week 12, costing the Jags a fresh set of downs. The coaching staff could've easily kept him on the sidelines the rest of the game but gave him a handful of snaps in the fourth quarter. Offensive coordinator Press Taylor recently explained why the team chose to keep giving the first-year running back chances.
"Tank's gonna be a really good player in this league," Taylor told the media in his latest availability session. "He's had a little bit of some unfortunate circumstances, two balls bounced off his hands that were hot from a couple feet away and scooped up a ball that got punched out when he didn't realize it was over. A little bit of it is unlucky but we believe in Tank, we believe in what he brings every day, and that's why we believe in Tank."
"We see it, we see the work he puts into studying the game plan, and walkthroughs of understanding blocking schemes, protection schemes, things like that, and he continues to grow as a player. I've talked to him a number of times that whether it's this week, this game, next week, there's gonna be a point in the season where Tank Bigsby is gonna make a huge play for our offense, and we're gonna stick with him because we believe in him, and we know what he's capable of. And he's starting to show that's exciting for all of us," Taylor said.
Bigsby has been responsible for a handful of turnovers this year. In the opener, he couldn't come down with a catch that ended up in the hands of cornerback Tony Brown. Later in the same game, he fumbled a live ball that defensive tackle DeForest Buckner returned for a touchdown.
Against the San Francisco 49ers, Bigsby couldn't secure a pass that turned into an interception. Not helping the former Auburn Tiger is the fact that he hasn't had many positive plays. So far, he's toted the rock 35 times for 80 yards with two touchdowns, and an average of 2.3 yards per carry. In recent weeks, he's been phased out in favor of veteran D'Ernest Johnson, who's currently RB2 behind Travis Etienne.
Tank Bigsby will need to produce for the Jaguars at some point
Tank Bigsby showed the ability to break off big runs in training camp but it didn't carry over into the regular season. At this point, it's fair to wonder what's holding him back. It doesn't seem like it's a lack of talent. He had no trouble getting yards in chunks in college. He also has the size and built to thrive in the NFL, so there's a chance it's the mental aspect of the game that's holding him back. It's not often brought up but the mental challenges of the game can be more difficult to overcome than the physical ones.
Either way, the Jaguars aren't giving up on him just yet, and instead continue to put their trust in him. One reason is that they used a mid-round pick on him, and pulling the plug on him so early in his career would reflect poorly on the front office. At some point though, they cannot keep giving him chances if he's not going to take advantage of him.
After all, players need to deliver, that's their job. It probably sounds harsh but that's the nature of the sport. If Bigsby can't contribute, someone else will, so he'll need to show out, or else run the risk of tumbling down the depth chart further.
In the end, the Jacksonville Jaguars made Tank Bigsby a third-round pick for a reason. Sooner or later, they'll find out if their patience paid off or not.