Jalen Richard

NFL rumors: Raiders work out running backs LeGarrette Blount, Bo Scarbrough

NFL rumors: Raiders work out running backs LeGarrette Blount, Bo Scarbrough

Through the first six games of his NFL career, Josh Jacobs has been everything the Raiders hoped he'd be, and the rookie running back clearly is a front-runner for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Still, he soon will enter uncharted territory.

Jacobs never was a full-time bell cow throughout his college career. Over three years at Alabama, he totaled 251 carries, never topping more than 120 in any single season. Of the 122 carries by Raiders running backs so far this season, 88 of them have gone to Jacobs.

The rookie has been productive with those attempts, averaging 4.9 yards per, and he has scored five touchdowns. Oakland has increased his workload in the wake of several injuries to its wide receivers, culminating with a career-best performance in the Raiders' Week 6 win over the Bears, in which Jacobs rushed 26 times for 123 yards and two scores.

At 5-foot-10, 220 pounds, Jacobs has the physical traits to be an every-down back. But behind him are two similarly sized backs in Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, both of whom are 5-8 and between 205 and 210 pounds. With Jacobs' backups being diminutive in stature, the Raiders reportedly went looking for a bigger-bodied bruiser.

ESPN's Field Yates reported Wednesday that Oakland worked out two free-agent running backs, both of which immediately would become the largest running back on the Raiders' roster, if they were signed.

Of those two backs, LeGarrette Blount is the more accomplished. A 10-year NFL veteran, Blount played for the Lions last season, rushing 154 times for 418 yards and five touchdowns. A short-yard specialist, Blount has 56 career rushing touchdowns to his name.

Bo Scarbrough has yet to appear in an NFL game, but he was on the Cowboys and Jaguars' practice squads last year before being signed by the Seahawks toward the end of the season. Interestingly enough, he and Jacobs overlapped for two years at Alabama, and Jacobs only moved into a featured role after Scarbrough departed.

[RELATED: Why Jacobs is harsh grader even after biggest Raiders games]

The Raiders appear intent on relying on their run game, and while Jacobs affords them that ability, the stable of running backs could be rounded out a bit better. Whether it's Blount, Scarbrough or another power back, don't be surprised if there's a new addition to Oakland's running back room sometime soon.

Raiders plan to expand Josh Jacobs' role in passing game moving forward

Raiders plan to expand Josh Jacobs' role in passing game moving forward

ALAMEDA -- Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is off to a strong start. His snap counts suggest he’s the Silver and Black’s clear-cut feature back, taking most of the carries through two games.

He’s worthy of them, having churned out 184 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries. A total of 11 carries have resulted in first downs, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, with four rushes of 10-plus yards. That includes a 51-yarder through the right side and down the boundary on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jacobs has done everything well thus far, though there’s one thing he hasn’t been asked to do much.

Jacobs has only been targeted once in the passing game despite 22 total snaps as a receiver, and he caught it and ran for a 28-yard pickup. The Alabama product simply hasn't been out on obvious passing downs, either.

Secondary backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington have only been targeted five times for 28 yards on four receptions.

Jacobs has played 68 snaps from the backfield while Washington and Richard have 43 combined, with a significant portion of those snaps given while Jacobs was getting an IV versus Kansas City.

Jacobs' light receiving load has raised some eyebrows, considering his prowess catching passes out of the backfield.

[RELATED: Raiders' Jacobs reveals he's lost 10 pounds due to illness]

There’s some thought that the team might be saving that option for an important moment down the line. The Raiders, however, clearly want to unleash their first-round draft pick’s full potential.

“It’s still early in the season, early in the process,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “We’re happy with Josh Jacobs and the way he’s running the football. When we have put the ball in his hands, he has produced. We’ll look to expand his role as well.”

Jon Gruden: Doug Martin should be mentor to Raiders rookie Josh Jacobs

Jon Gruden: Doug Martin should be mentor to Raiders rookie Josh Jacobs

ALAMEDA – The Raiders running back group went through a disturbance this week when Isaiah Crowell tore his Achilles tendon in a Tuesday offseason program workout. He’s done for the year and likely as a Raider after signing a one-year contract in March.

That created a veteran void hole at the position quickly filled by Doug Martin, last year’s leading rusher. The Oakland native returns after a long stay on the open market, expected to support Josh Jacobs, the No. 24 overall pick expected to be the Raiders’ lead back.

“Doug will be able to come in here and be a great mentor to Jacobs,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “He knows the system. He has produced in the system. Doug has had some real highs and some real lows in this league. He’ll be a great resource to our young back, and he can still play. We’re happy to have Doug back and disappointed for Isaiah.”

Gruden said Crowell suffered a “freak injury” the way it happened and feels for a player hoping to re-launch his career after a lackluster 2018 season with the New York Jets.

Crowell’s injury and Martin’s signing doesn’t change the top of the depth chart. Jacobs is sitting there comfortably already, though Gruden didn’t want to anoint him feature back just yet and said competition will be coming.

“Doug Martin was our three-down back last year and he finished quite well,” Gruden said. “We’re comfortable with Doug. I think Jalen Richard is a really good back, and he wants to be a three-down back. We just paid him a lot of money because of his skill. I think DeAndre Washington, who was hurt most of last year, is also going to be a contributor. We’ll see what happens with Jacobs. He has a lot to learn in our system, and he has to beat out some good backs.”

Gruden didn’t originally mention Chris Warren III but he’s also in the mix after spending the 2018 regular season on injured reserve with a knee injury

"I like Chris Warren. He's 260 pounds. He can run,” Gruden said. He had a good (2018) preseason for us and has learned a lot about our offense and this profession. ... We'll see where he is. We're anxious to put him back in circulation."

[RELATED: NFL execs have harsh words about Raiders' first-round picks]

Jacobs will have to earn his carries, but the full expectation is he’ll be the workhorse runner in this offense. Jacobs has the skills required to thrive in Gruden’s scheme and welcomes the chance at significant carries.

“Definitely eager to prove, not only to myself, but to everybody that I can be a three-down back,” Jacobs said. “Yeah, I think it was a blessing how it played out. I feel everything plays out how it’s supposed to. With me not having so much tread on the tires or whatever, being so fresh, I think it’s going to be huge, especially for my position. It’s going to be interesting.”