It looks like I'm going to have Josh Jacobs on a lot of teams this year. Every story that comes out about him is negative, with a new one every day. What's interesting is that none of them actually have anything to do with him, but with people's expectations about the Raiders backfield.

Here's the latest one, from ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. He envisions Josh McDaniels favoring a committee backfield, in which Jacobs, Ameer Abdullah, rookie Zamir White and veteran Brandon Bolden all have roles.

What interests me is the willingness to pick and choose the elements of somebody's background that fit a narrative, ignoring the ones that don't. So yes, the Patriots used a committee backfield of a couple of main runners and a passing downs back while McDaniel was there. But what they didn't do is use a goal-line specialist, which Gutierrez proposes they might do with White. They didn't tend to give big roles to rookie running backs when there was a capable veteran around. And they didn't use Brandon Bolden on offense unless they had no other choice.

Bolden caught 41 passes last year, with that passing-downs role coming about after James White got hurt. Prior to that injury, he barely played on offense. Other times the now 32-year-old Bolden barely played on offense were 2016, 2017, 2018 (with Miami) and 2019 (back with New England). Also 2020, when he didn't play at all.

In those five seasons Bolden had 37 carries and 15 catches. McDaniels was his coordinator for all but one of those seasons.

I like what I've seen out of White. Talked him up in the Rookie story in the magazine. No doubt in my mind he'll be starting for Las Vegas a year from now. A nice backup to select late in drafts (not late enough these days, unfortunately), especially if you have Jacobs. But why is he going to have an offensive role?

Last year the Patriots had a fourth-round rookie on their roster, Rhamondre Stevenson. Stevenson had three big games last year: huge blowout wins over Cleveland (with Damien Harris sitting out) and Jacksonville (Harris also had a 2-TD game that day) and the Buffalo game where the team didn't pass the ball (Harris also went over 100 yards and scored that day). It was not a committee until the second half of the season, and the rookies best games were primarily when Harris was also delivering very good numbers.

So Josh Jacobs; I guess he's going to be the hill I'll die on this season. I took him in a FanEx draft a few weeks ago. I'm in a 14-team league that's drafting right now, and I suspect I'll be taking him in that one, too (I'll post a link to that and discuss it later this week or early next). Where others are looking and seeing a committee back, I'm seeing a guy who quietly is one of just nine running backs who's ranked in the top 25 at the position in each of the last three seasons.

2021Aaron Jones1717994.75239110231.011
2020Aaron Jones20111045.54735511258.95
2019Aaron Jones23610844.64947419318.82
2021Alvin Kamara2408983.7474399234.79
2020Alvin Kamara1879325.08375621377.81
2019Alvin Kamara1717974.7815336250.79
2021Dalvin Cook24911594.7342246210.316
2020Dalvin Cook31215575.04436117343.82
2019Dalvin Cook25011354.55351913296.46
2021David Montgomery2258493.8423017199.019
2020David Montgomery24710704.35443810266.84
2019David Montgomery2428893.7251857174.424
2021Derrick Henry2199374.31815410193.422
2020Derrick Henry37820275.41911417337.13
2019Derrick Henry30315405.11820618300.65
2021Ezekiel Elliott23710024.24728712254.17
2020Ezekiel Elliott2449794.0523388233.79
2019Ezekiel Elliott30113574.55442014315.73
2021Josh Jacobs2178724.0543489230.012
2020Josh Jacobs27310653.93323812235.38
2019Josh Jacobs24211504.8201667193.621
2021Melvin Gordon2039184.52821310201.118
2020Melvin Gordon2159864.63215810206.413
2019Melvin Gordon1626123.8422969186.822
2021Nick Chubb22812595.5201749217.313
2020Nick Chubb19010675.61615012209.711
2019Nick Chubb29814945.0362788261.28

White's a nice-looking rookie, Abdullah a serviceable third-down guy, Bolden a great special teamer and fill-in if needed. But I think Jacobs will get most of the carries and have another top 15-20 type season, then ply his trade elsewhere a year from now.

--Andy Richardson