Josh Jacobs, by most accounts, had an extremely successful rookie campaign. Some would even say he was snubbed and deserved to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. En route to setting the Raiders' franchise record for rushing yards by a rookie, Jacobs showed why general manager Mike Mayock decided to use the 24th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on a running back, something that was initially questioned by fans and media members alike.
While Jacobs flourished as a running back in 2019, he is hoping to showcase more of his abilities as a playmaker in 2020. Specifically, Jacobs is hoping to make a significant impact as a receiver after catching just 20 of 27 targets last season.
"I've kind of established the run aspect of my game," Jacobs said on Wednesday, via the Raiders' official website. "I feel like I want to improve that even more, but also blocking, I want to put some of that on film. Also, catching. I want to catch at least 60 balls this year."
Jacobs, who caught just 48 passes in three years at Alabama, worked on receiving routes throughout the offseason. He said that he has also fully recovered from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for three games last season.
"I worked on a lot of things that receivers do, not necessarily just running back routes," said Jacobs, who added that he is lighter than he was last season. "Whether it's getting off the line, or how to stack on top once you get vertical and things like that. I've just been working on all the technical things that receivers do and just trying to implement that into my own style and bring what I can to the table."
If Jacobs does get more involved in the passing game, that could lead to more opportunities for fellow running backs Jalen Richard, rookie Lynn Bowden Jr. and veteran Devontae Booker to receive more carries. And while starting running backs can be territorial when it comes to sharing a backfield, Jacobs appears open to sharing the spotlight with his fellow running backs. Jacobs said that there is already a family-like atmosphere developing inside the team's running backs room.
"I had all of them over for dinner the other day," Jacobs said of the Raiders' running backs. "We're just trying to build that bond and see each other win."
While Jacobs is looking to be more of a weapon in the passing game, the Raiders are also hoping to get considerably production from this year's first-round pick, Henry Ruggs III, who was teammates with Jacobs at Alabama from 2017-18.
"He's dynamic," Jacobs said of Ruggs, who scored 24 touchdowns during his time with the Crimson Tide. "[But] I don't think he gets the credit that he deserves for how physical he is. He's one of the best blocking receivers that I've been around."