Raiders running back Josh Jacobs had a tremendous rookie season. If not for a late-season shoulder injury, he likely would have been named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The Alabama product is firmly situated as the lead back in what should be an improved Raiders offense in the team's first season in Las Vegas. The Raiders added pass-catching weapons Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards and Nelson Agholor in the draft and free agency, and Jacobs himself intends to be an improved receiving threat for quarterback Derek Carr (h/t Raiders Wire.)
"I worked on a lot of things that receivers do,” Jacobs said Wednesday at training camp. "Not just running-back routes, like how to get off the line, how to stack on top once you get vertical. I’ve just been working on all the little technical things that receivers do. Just trying to implement that into my own style and bring what I can to the table."
"My goal is to catch at least 60 balls this year," he added.
Jacobs hauled in 20 receptions for 166 yards as a rookie, so that goal would represent quite a significant jump if attained. He certainly has the athleticism and ability to increase his reception total, but given the additional receiving talents on the roster, he might find it difficult to get that kind of volume. After all, there are only so many balls to go around.
Nonetheless, that's the kind of attitude the Raiders surely love to see out of one of their core offensive building blocks. There's every reason to expect Jacobs will improve upon his rookie season, and not simply as a runner.
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