Raiders

Josh Jacobs not sure he wants life story getting Hollywood treatment

Josh Jacobs not sure he wants life story getting Hollywood treatment

Josh Jacobs is a self-made man. He didn’t have much growing up, often sleeping in cars and motels with siblings and a father trying hard to make ends meet.

He added hard work to freak athleticism and made the most of his gifts as an elite running back, moving up from virtual anonymity in Tusla, Okla., to the University of Alabama. Now he’s a first-round draft pick the Raiders took at No. 24 overall, and he soon will sign a multi-million dollar contract.

Hollywood loves a story like that. Fits in well with the American dream, so much so that producers already are trying to acquire the rights to Jacobs’ rags-to-riches tale.

“I don’t know how it came about, honestly,” Jacobs said. “I was just being hit up by big-name producers, like three or four of them about doing a movie. I don’t know if I’m going to do it or not.”

Jacobs is weighing whether or not to get into the movie business, but he knows one thing for sure.

Not right now.

“I feel like there’s perfect timing to everything,” Jacobs said, “and I just don’t feel like right now is the right time.”

Jacobs is solely focused on becoming the Raiders' feature back. That’s expected in his first professional season, with Jon Gruden being over the moon about inserting this dynamic, versatile talent into his offense.

That will mean a higher carry count than his college days, where he split time with other top talents. Doug Martin’s a reserve option in Oakland, and Jalen Richard will get touches in specific situations.

Jacobs is Plan A. He knows it and is ready for that level of responsibility.

“It’s definitely huge,” Jacobs said. “That’s definitely something that I push myself towards every day. I try to work hard every day so that I can be able to withstand that. But, it’s also something that I have been looking forward to for myself to see if I can handle that, take on that challenge. So, it’s definitely going to be fun. We’ll see how it goes.”

Despite being the new guy expected to take the lion’s share of the work, Jacobs says his position group has been welcoming and helpful since he showed up.

“It’s crazy because I didn’t come in thinking it would be like that,” Jacobs said. “But they’re all loving and we all have the same common goals.

“It’s definitely competitive, but it’s just like, at the same time, we’re just all working towards a common goal – that’s to win games and be the best that we can be as a running back unit. We always try to set the tone, set the pace even if it’s at practice. We just hold each other to that kind of a standard every day.”

Jacobs doesn’t believe the NFL draft was his Hollywood ending. There’s more story to tell, and Jacobs wants full focus on that at this time.

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There’s also an element of creative license brought even to real-life biographies, something Michael Oher didn’t often appreciate seeing his life on screen in “The Blind Side.” Relinquishing rights also means filmmakers dig deep, telling not-always-flattering portions of a story. There’s a lot to weigh when making such a decision. Jacobs isn’t taking it lightly, which creates a proper amount of hesitation.

“Because it’s taking the story into a deeper level,” Jacobs said. “It’s saying some things that I left out in the story that would probably be shown in the movie and I don’t know if I want to do it. I still have to talk to my family about it and see how they feel about it and things like that. But I haven’t really thought about it too much.”

Why Raiders should add running back to help Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard

Why Raiders should add running back to help Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard

Josh Jacobs is a feature back in every sense. The Raiders star rusher can do most everything well and is capable of playing all three downs. He can carry a significant workload, as he did during an exemplary 2019 campaign where he finished second in AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting, and frankly should have won.

He had 242 carries for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games, proving to be a tough and elusive runner who gains significant yards after contact.

Jalen Richard’s an excellent complement as a third-down back who can pass protect well and is an excellent receiver out of the backfield.

While those two can cover every offensive scenario, the Raiders should still work to add another running back.

That was clear at the end of last year when Jacobs was shut down with a shoulder injury he played through for weeks. DeAndre Washington filled in as the primary ball carrier and fared well but was allowed to hit the open market, where he remains today.

The Raiders could and should look to upgrade that position and not just by finding a backup. They need someone with a different style, maybe a big and bruising back to accent what the Raiders do offensively.

They tried to do that last season, when they worked out every veteran running back under the sun but didn’t sign anyone until Rod Smith came aboard late.

The sixth-year journeyman re-signed with the Raiders on a low-cost contract.

The NFL draft will have quality options available later in the draft, where the Raiders have three third-round picks and one each in the fourth and fifth.

It might take a third-round pick to land Boston College’s A.J. Dillion, a 247-pound bruiser who can run downhill and pick up short yardage by moving the pile. Draft analysts say he’s good at reading blocks and following his assignment, something important in Jon Gruden’s offense.

Vanderbilt’s Ke'Shawn Vaughn is an option who might be available later. He isn’t quite as big but has the toughness required to get hard yards and could absorb some blows to keep Jacobs healthy and fresh.

This isn’t a full-on draft breakdown, so we won’t go down the list of every scheme fit available for selection. There aren’t many free agent dollars left, so it’s hard to see another runner coming in.

The Raiders can survive with the depth chart they’ve got, especially with fullback Alec Ingold able to carry the ball effectively when called upon. But the NFL is trending toward two back benefits, even when there’s an obvious alpha like Jacobs.

Gruden has historically preferred feeding multiple backs, as he did in his previous Raiders stint with Tyrone Wheatley and Napoleon Kauffman, and later with Wheatley and Charlie Garner.

[RELATED: Raiders reportedly meet virtually with Herbert]

Gruden has also ridden one back pretty hard, as he did with Cadillac Williams while with Tampa Bay.

The Raiders are more than capable of rolling with the crew they have but could use to make the backfield a little better before the 2020 season begins by filling a relatively low-ranking need.

NFL rumors: Raiders meeting with Oregon QB Justin Herbert before draft

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NFL rumors: Raiders meeting with Oregon QB Justin Herbert before draft

The Raiders are meeting with former Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert on an official top-30 visit. Well, the term “visit” might be a stretch considering nobody is allowed inside NFL facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pre-draft meetings still are happening, but those face-to-face interactions now are done over FaceTime or Zoom or Skype or whatever video conferencing platform you prefer.

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Herbert will be meeting with the Raiders in this way, as the Silver and Black try to refine their options in the NFL draft.

Each team gets 30 meetings during the pre-draft process, though they’re often used on players from lower rounds or with character questions they need to examine further.

This meeting is sure to raise some eyebrows considering Herbert’s position and eventual draft status, but this should be viewed as an exploratory exercise of the Raiders doing due diligence.

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Herbert should be taken in the NFL draft’s top 10, well before the Raiders draft at Nos. 12 and 19. The Raiders have the capital to trade up in the draft if they choose, but it would be costly to move up high enough to get beyond the quarterback starved Miami Dolphins at No. 5 and the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 6.

They also have a quality quarterback room with Derek Carr as the starter and Marcus Mariota as the backup. There are far more pressing needs at receiver, cornerback and safety and maybe defensive line that could use talent available in the first round.

It’s possible the Raiders draft a quarterback later in the draft, but it seems unlikely in the first round.

Let’s also recall that the Raiders met with top quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins before last year’s draft and didn’t take either guy.

While the Raiders don’t have an immediate need at quarterback, general manager Mike Mayock always says the team will consider upgrades at every position. Head coach Jon Gruden loves meeting with quarterbacks and learning how they think.

Herbert is ranked high among the NFL draft’s best options at quarterback, typically third behind Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa. He has ideal size for a quarterback at 6-foot-6 and 236 pounds, with great arm strength and field vision. He can throw on the move and is confident throwing the ball downfield and making smart decisions going with shorter and intermediate options.

NBC Sports Bay Area’s latest mock draft has Herbert going No. 5 to the Dolphins.

NFL Network also reported that Herbert has a video conference scheduled with the Bolts.