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Report: Eagles will host Josh Jacobs on official pre-draft visit

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Still an option at No. 25?

Louisiana v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama running back Josh Jacobs is one of 30 prospects from the 2019 NFL Draft to be hosted by the Eagles for a visit in Philadelphia, according to a report from NFL insider Adam Caplan. Caplan specifically notes Jacobs’ visit is expected to take place next week.

There’s been a lot of buzz that the Eagles could draft Jacobs. A few weeks ago, Geoff Mosher said: “Don’t be shocked if the Eagles take a running back in the first round. They really like Josh Jacobs.” Last week, Jason La Canfora said the Eagles are among the teams “very interested” in the 21-year-old runner. Some things I’ve personally heard makes me believe these reports are not off base.

Some may argue the Eagles don’t need to draft a running back after acquiring Jordan Howard but I don’t agree. Howard has averaged 1.5 receptions per game over his career and lacks dynamic ability as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Howard is also playing on the last year of his contract so he might not even be around beyond this season.

I previously made the case for drafting Jacobs:

It’s easy to believe the Eagles could have interest in drafting Jacobs considering they currently have one of the worst backfield in the league. But would they really take him at No. 25 overall, assuming he even makes it there?

Given that Philadelphia hasn’t drafted a running back in the first round since 1986, it’s kind of hard to believe. There’s not much evidence to support this current regime wants to invest premium resources in the running back position.

But we do know the Eagles really value the passing game. And that’s an area where Jacobs can help. He flashed pass-catching ability in college with 48 receptions for 571 yards (11.9 average) and five touchdowns. He also earned a reputation for holding up in pass protection.

If the Eagles were ever going to take a first-round running back, Jacobs might be the guy. He’s versatile (third down back skills), young (just turned 21 years old), relatively fresh (didn’t have a huge workload at Alabama), and just overall talented.

One thing working against Jacobs is that he’s had some injury issues in the past. He played through a nagging hamstring issue and a broken ankle in 2017. Jacobs’ groin injury limited his participation at this year’s NFL Combine. The Eagles could very well be bringing him in for a visit to gather more information on his medical situation.

It’d be nice if the Eagles could trade down and land Jacobs in the early second but they might just have to take him at No. 25. That is, if he even makes it that far. Former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah has Jacobs ranked as his No. 8 overall prospect in this year’s class.

Jacobs is one of my favorite players to study in this draft class. He has a thick, compact build, and I love his combination of power, elusiveness and versatility. In the run game, he possesses excellent vision, burst and wiggle. His change-of-direction quickness is off the charts. He runs low to the ground and powers through tacklers in every game I studied. Jacobs has the speed to get to the perimeter -- he’s a weapon when lined up as a QB in the Wildcat and when he’s used on fly sweeps from the slot. In the passing game, Jacobs runs crisp routes and possesses natural hands; he’s a make-you-miss specialist in space. He does need to improve in pass protection. He must come to balance as a blocker and avoid lunging at blitzers. Overall, Jacobs is a special talent, and his light workload at Alabama (251 carries in three seasons) should be viewed as a positive, not a negative.

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Should the Eagles draft Josh Jacobs even after trading for Jordan Howard?

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Complete list of known Philadelphia Eagles draft visits

Alabama RB Josh Jacobs

Georgia CB Deandre Baker - [Click here]

Virginia S Juan Thornhill - [Click here]

Houston CB Isaiah Johnson - [Click here]

Houston DT Ed Oliver - [Click here]

Maryland S Darnell Savage (Local) - [Click here]

Boston College OL Chris Lindstrom - [Click here]

Oklahoma OT Cody Ford - [Click here]

Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown - [Click here]

Penn State CB Amani Oruwariye - [Click here]

Arkansas G/C Hjalte Froholdt - [Click here]

TCU DE L.J. Collier - [Click here]

Old Dominion DE Oshane Ximines - [Click here]

Michigan RB Karan Higdon - [Click here]

Florida S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson - [Click here]

Alabama State OT Tytus Howard - [Click here]