It is NFL Draft season which means that the top prospects and suggestions of where they could fit with different teams are underway. The Carolina Panthers are certainly not removed from those discussions as they look to improve their roster. One of the areas that they could improve is running back. Although they have a few faces at the position behind Christian McCaffrey, they could certainly use someone who can make an impact right away.
Alabama running back Josh Jacobs would certainly fit that mold. Jacobs was a stud for the Crimson Tide. In the 2018 season, he carried the ball 120 times for 640 yards and 11 touchdowns. Averaging 5.3 yards per carry, that is certainly a big chunk of yardage on a first down play for example. In total, he accumulated 140 plays from scrimmage for 887 yards and 14 touchdowns. Averaging 6.3 yards per play he showed he could have that explosiveness in any situation off the line. For his Alabama career, Jacobs carried the ball 251 times for 1, 491 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Those may not seem like impressive numbers, and on any team except for Alabama they wouldn’t be. However, the way Alabama has constructed their offense over the past couple years it is becoming an increasingly pass-friendly offense. Not only that, Alabama has a reputation for bringing in slower backs, ones that can literally run you over. They may not be the fastest, they may not gain the most yards, but you know that they are on the field and they will truck you into the end zone. That’s just the way Alabama running backs have been the past couple of years.
Take for example Derrick Henry. He is not the fastest running back to ever play the game, but his physicality has made him a rising running back in the National Football League. The same could be said for Mark Ingram. While he was with the New Orleans Saints, Ingram was viewed as the power back while Alvin Kamara took care of things moreso on the speed and receiving end. He performed very well with the Saints, and looks to do the same for the Baltimore Ravens. If he can do that, the Ravens would be in good shape.
However, as it pertains to Jacobs, the Carolina Panthers have been linked to him. Charlie Casserly of NFL Network noted that Jacobs could take some of the load off of Christian McCaffrey. That is perhaps the main reason why he would be a good fit with the Panthers. McCaffrey needs someone he can turn to if he needs a rest. He did way too much for the Carolina Panthers offense last season, and I would hate to see him have to carry the load in the backfield again.
It would be fun to see a McCaffrey-Jacobs duo in the backfield for Carolina. They would certainly be a force to be reckoned with, and also be an upgrade from the current running back group. Of course, I am willing to give the other running backs a chance, but ideally I want to see someone that can make an impact right now. Jacobs has shown he can do that.