The Jacksonville Jaguars running back position has been a weird one so far through the 2019 offseason, training camp and the preseason. The team hasn’t really ran the ball well outside of a few flashes by rookie Ryquell Armstead, but they’ve also been operating with a makeshift backup offensive line most of the team. The team lost veteran Alfred Blue, who is in a walking boot, seemingly for a few weeks. That injury prompted the team to sign Elijah Hood, which made me a bit curious.
The Jaguars have a bunch of mudders at running back and that’s it.
Should we be worried about that?
Last offseason I wrote about how it seemed like a huge risk for the Jaguars to enter the regular season with just three true backs on the roster, all entirely different from each other with Leonard Fournette, T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant. Unfortunately, that risk busted and Fournette got hurt, Yeldon was mediocre and Grant got hurt. That led to a way-too-late panic trade for Carlos Hyde and a bunch of random signings at the position.
It seems the Jaguars learned from that and stocked up in 2019. The team signed the aforementioned Alfred Blue, drafting a back and signed some other veterans like Thomas Rawls.
Rawls, hilariously enough, is the smallest back on the roster listed at 5’9” and 215 pounds. Every other back the Jaguars have are over 220 pounds and more of the north/south plodding straight-line speed guys. Sure, Fournette and Armstead are fast, if they’re given the room and runway to build up their speed, but they’re not going to go out there and create something from nothing with jumpcuts and reversing direction. No one on the Jaguars roster would seem to be that third-down scatback type. There’s no change up like T.J. Yeldon or Maurice Jones-Drew were to compliment the starter in Fournette.
It’s a bunch of mudders.
The closest the Jaguars had to that was Bennie Cunningham and Roc Thomas, both of which have been waived. The Hood signing as cover for Blue makes sense, but otherwise it’s a bunch of big mudders and Rawls, who drew a lot of comparisons to Marshawn Lynch in Seattle, is the “change of pace” back.
Maybe after the past few seasons of it blowing up in their face they just want to go super safe at the position and will continue to be a power running team, but I’m a bit concerned being so linear and niche at the position could end up being an issue at times. I am not as worried as I was last season with whatever that cocktail of running backs they started the season out with was, but it’s definitely something I’ll be keeping an eye on.