The 2019 season for the Baltimore Ravens marks a change for the franchise, with a new quarterback and offensive coordinator. Greg Roman’s offenses have historically been different from others in the league, with the running back as the engine for the offense. One of the many differences between Roman and other offensive coordinators is not who is the focal point, but how the focal point is used. The running back in Greg Roman’s scheme is not just a piece of the puzzle, or just the focal point, but an offense will live or die based off who the running back is. Greg Roman’s running back has to not only do the typical duties of a running back, carry the ball, be a pass catcher, pass protector, but also has to do things on a cerebral level. Roman, unlike most offensive coordinators, doesn’t solely stick to one scheme such as a power scheme, but he implements a lot of inside zone, outside zone, and with Lamar Jackson the running back is going to also have to be able to sell the read option and occasionally serve as a lead blocker. With Greg Roman, a running back is going to line up wide and be a weapon from the outside as well. While guys like Kenneth Dixon, Gus Edwards, and Ty Montgomery are good pieces in the puzzle, none of them are going to be the long-term starters here. Dixon is good enough but has proven himself to be injury prone. Edwards is more of a by-product of Lamar anyways, and Ty Montgomery is unlikely to return even if he is a quality third down back. Roman has had two notable experiences with running backs, and Roman tailored his offense to work for Frank Gore and Lesean McCoy. Frank Gore is a future hall of famer who is more of a power back with underrated speed and burst. Lesean McCoy will go down to be one of the better backs of the decade and is of a different variety, being shiftier and more elusive. Yet they made their respective offenses respectable, with Roman being the offensive coordinator of a super bowl in 2013. Although there is a narrative around the league now that running backs are interchangeable and can be found in any round, with our offense, we might be an exception to the rule. Josh Jacobs from Alabama is the top back in a very weak class and fits this offense better than any running back in this class. While lacking the explosiveness that made Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliot, Leonard Fournette, and Saquon Barkley high level prospects, Jacobs is a first-round prospect who does things at the technical level better than any of them. https://media.giphy.com/media/5tuj4P3AWYHgBI0vBk/giphy.gif Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way for a running back. This run displays that Jacobs has good moves in the open field and underrated if not good power. Jacobs is a guy who excels at running between the tackles, and Alabama’s power scheme features a lot of pulls and traps. Because of this Jacobs will fit right in with the offense immediately. But Roman is also a more than capable zone runner. Jacobs uses his superior footwork to help break tackles and deceive the defense. https://media.giphy.com/media/7NOA2cSbmydtFFQoSx/giphy.gif This is a display of Jacob’s vision. Jacobs sees that he does not have the middle open, so he reads the line from inside out. Classic gap scheme run here while the first run exemplifies an outside in approach that a zone scheme implements, as well as displaying the ability turn the corner and get 10-20 extra yards. Jacobs has other key assets about his game as well, not only as a runner, but as a blocker. https://media.giphy.com/media/9JpqzixpYd2dSDlIxT/giphy.gif Jacobs isn’t the best back in this class as a pass protector, but his versatility as both a pass blocker and a run blocker is going to allow him to be Lamar Jackson’s best friend. This also opens the door for Roman to be creative. We are going to run a committee anyways, so two back sets might become a staple with a runner like Jacobs. Jacobs has good technique and thrives off contact. But perhaps the area where I can safely call Jacobs an elite prospect is in the receiving game. https://media.giphy.com/media/3DoTPn2el9m3EzOM4A/giphy.gif Jacobs could play wide receiver full time if he wanted to. Jacobs truly runs routes like a wide receiver, so good that he can be split out wide and serve us in a different way. Truly speaking. This could be dangerous with Lamar and with RPOs. The thing that is hopefully going to deter all 20 picks before us to not go draft Jacobs from us is that, even if he tests well at the combine, which I think he will, is that his athleticism on the field is not exceptional. It’s very good, but he’s more of a power runner, but not in a traditional mold. He’s not a Leonard Fournette, who is going to wear the defense down by being a battering ram, but he’s more of a running back that wears the defense down during a game by lowering his shoulder and tiring them out by making them miss. Jacobs does not have the breakaway speed asked of a Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliot, or Saquon Barkley, but he can break a lot of tackles and get 30-40-yard runs that way. Overall Josh Jacobs is not the best athlete but given his lack of a big workload in college, superior footwork, high level receiving ability, vision, patience, and his ability to be a good blocker, Jacobs has the potential to be a weapon that lasts in the NFL for ten years. This is the piece both Lamar Jackson and more importantly Greg Roman could use to make the offense go. Every offense needs a focal point weapon, and Jacobs could be that. Pro Comparison: Marcus Allen. It seems odd to compare him to a hall of famer, but this is one of the most accurate comparisons I’ve seen. Allen was taller, but both weight about the same. Allen was not a great athlete, but was a great football player who did absolutely everything and because of this he had a long and successful career.