This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the Eagles linked to Jacobs leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft.
Philadelphia used one of their 60 official meetings with him at the NFL Combine in February. Last week, Geoff Mosher said: “I’ve been hearing that … don’t be shocked if the Eagles take a running back in the first round. They really like Josh Jacobs.”
Doug Pederson praised Jacobs when asked about him at the NFL owners meetings. It should also be noted that Eagles director of team development Joe Pannunzio was Jacobs’ running backs coach at Alabama last year.
It’s easy to believe the Eagles could have interest in drafting Jacobs considering they currently have one of the worst backfield in the league. But would they really take him at No. 25 overall, assuming he even makes it there?
Given that Philadelphia hasn’t drafted a running back in the first round since 1986, it’s kind of hard to believe. There’s not much evidence to support this current regime wants to invest premium resources in the running back position.
But we do know the Eagles really value the passing game. And that’s an area where Jacobs can help. He flashed pass-catching ability in college with 48 receptions for 571 yards (11.9 average) and five touchdowns. He also earned a reputation for holding up in pass protection.
If the Eagles were ever going to take a first-round running back, Jacobs might be the guy. He’s versatile (third down back skills), young (just turned 21 years old), relatively fresh (didn’t have a huge workload at Alabama), and just overall talented.
That’s not to suggest Jacobs is a perfect prospect. His athletic testing numbers weren’t super impressive, Alabama using him in a limited role could be spun as a negative, and he’s had some injury issues in the past. There’s some thought Jacobs could fall out of the first round. Maybe the Eagles could trade up for him in the second round at that point.
The Eagles are bound to draft at least running back this year. It’s possible Jacobs is that guy.
Scouting report via NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:
Prototypical combination of size and skill-set as an every-down runner with the ability to slash or impose his will on any given snap. Jacobs runs with good bend, vision and burst, and he proved to be an effective pass-catcher out of the backfield or from the slot. He will probe and burst, but he could become more elusive with better tempo as a runner. Jacobs is a decisive runner with outstanding one-cut talent to become a bellcow lead back.
NFL Comparison: Sony Michel