If you look at the Oakland Raiders, from a rookie perspective, they possess the ability to make a few waves. With such a diverse talent pool, a few standouts could emerge. Below, five seemingly bold predictions regarding the class of 2020.
Josh Jacobs earns a top-10 running back status.
From a fantasy standpoint, Dave Richard has Josh Jacobs as his 14th best running back this season. His next highest ranked rookie is David Montgomery at 21. Sitting top-15 without experiencing a regular season snap is impressive, to say the least, but Jacobs also has yet to showcase his pass catching abilities and reveal even more potential, fantasy or physically.
Just from his preseason appearance against the Cardinals, Jacobs seems different. He runs with a purpose, and that purpose is to blow through any defender foolish enough to get in his way. Not to mention that Jacobs was the first running back drafted this year; he should be the best in his class.
Ferrell will break the Raiders’ rookie sack record.
The Oakland Raiders’ rookie sack record is held by Greg Townsend for recording 10.5 sacks in 1983. As fans have seen, Clelin Ferrell is a beast. Despite a very small sample size, Ferrell has shown incredible promise. One of his most significant preseason plays came from the game against the Cardinals. Ferrell got into the backfield almost immediately, forcing Kyler Murray to his right. Instead of roaming out towards the sideline, Murray forced an awkward pass because Ferrell was able to keep up with Murray and keep the edge. Yes, Ferrell took a better route in that situation than the best mobile quarterback from the 2019 NFL Draft.
The only thing to keep an eye on is Ferrell’s “Illegal hands to the face” calls after he recorded two on back-to-back plays.
Jonathan Abram will struggle with tackling.
Anyone who watched Hard Knocks knows Abram loves to hit. For those who did not watch, Jon Gruden lectured him during a team practice for being too physical (in a no-pads practice). Despite this, Abram appeared to prefer to go for a hard, head-leading hit than to wrap up in the game against the Cardinals, leading to a broken tackle.
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This may all sound like a stretch, but practice and games, preseason or not, are two completely different things. It is quite easy to hit your teammates when they are not expecting it, but typically, the games are where a player shows what they can really do.
Maxx Crosby’s drive will earn snaps.
Despite being a fourth-round pick, Maxx Crosby has first-round heart. No matter the situation, Crosby just wants to be on the field. It seems as though Crosby knows heart cannot be taught. Either that or he knew the Hard Knocks cameras trained on him and he wanted to put on a show. It is safe to lean with the former situation and Crosby proved it when he broke his hand and did everything he could to get back on the field as soon as possible in a preseason game.
Crosby as the definition of a (Gruden) grinder, and with Gruden having nine years remaining on his contract, Maxx Crosby could become a household name.
Alec Ingold will earn a roster spot.
It is no secret the fullback position is fading in the NFL. It is also no secret that Gruden is a very unique coach. As the NFL playbooks continue to favor air attacks, the Raiders signed a tank. A rookie from the University of Wisconsin, Alec Ingold does not seem as poised to turn heads as he is to run through them, but he will do plenty of head-turning as well.
If a stat was created to describe Ingold, it would be BLTD (blocks leading to touchdowns). However, he displayed the ability to run the ball and scored 17 touchdowns while at Wisconsin. Plus, it is hard to imagine Jon Gruden running anything but a fullback dive in “4th and inches” situations. At worst, the Oakland Raiders boast depth at multiple positions. Hopefully, a few of these rookies can produce on the field.