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When Jon Gruden selected Josh Jacobs in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, most people didn’t give it much thought. The Raiders needed a starting running back who could act as a workhorse, and Jacobs was one of the best options available.
After back-to-back seasons of 1,000-plus yards and 19 total touchdowns, Gruden obviously made the right move with Jacobs. But then during the offseason, Gruden and company brought in free agent running back, Kenyan Drake, on a two-year, $11 million deal.
What do Jacobs and Drake have in common? They both played at Alabama.
Drake’s usage has been inconsistent throughout his five-year NFL career, but he’s been productive at times. In total, he’s produced 4,374 total yards (3,130 rushing, 1,244 receiving) to go along 33 touchdowns. That’s a nice complementary piece to have for Jacobs.
Still, it could just be a coincidence that both running backs are from Tuscaloosa — or is it?
On Thursday, Adam Spencer with Saturday Down South pointed out something interesting. Just over a week ago, the Raiders added two more running backs to their roster. One was Darius Jackson, who played at Eastern Michigan and doesn’t really apply here.
The other was B.J. Emmons. Now, if you look at where Emmons played his college ball, it’ll tell you Florida Atlantic. Why? Because that’s where he finished up his career. But if you take a closer look, you’ll realize that Emmons actually started off at Alabama as a former top-50 prospect coming out of North Carolina.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) July 29, 2021
Does this mean anything? Eh, probably not. It could mean Gruden is a really big fan of running backs who spent some time rocking the Crimson and White. Considering the coaching they get in college, who could blame him?
If the Raiders do have a fondness for former Alabama runners, I could suggest a few more. The Trent Richardson experiment for this franchise has already come and gone, but Bo Scarbrough is still available and is only 24 years old. Heck, they could even give Eddie Lacy a call and see how he’s doing.
Just some suggestions.
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Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.