Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders was a first-round pick during an era in which running backs are devalued. If you do take a running back in the first round, you need to get maximum value from him.
Jacobs has been good for the Raiders. Maybe not great, but he has still been a productive starting back. And with a chance to make Jacobs their unquestioned feature back, the Raiders made one of the most confusing moves of the entire offseason in signing running back Kenyan Drake.
That makes it harder to know what to expect out of Jacobs this season. It makes betting the over on his rushing yardage total prop a bit scary.
Can Josh Jacobs reach 1,000 yards?
Josh Jacobs has a rushing yardage prop of 1,000.5 at BetMGM. That's in roughly the same tier as unquestioned lead backs like David Montgomery (950.5), Antonio Gibson (1,025.5) and Aaron Jones (1,050.5).
Jacobs flashed as a rookie, but did drop to just 3.9 yards per carry his second season. Jacobs isn't exactly injury-prone, but he has missed four games the past two seasons. The Raiders also have rebuilt their line and we don't know how that will affect the running game.
This is less about Jacobs and more about his role.
The addition of Drake was surprising. Drake got a two-year deal, $11 million deal with all of it guaranteed. It can reportedly be worth up to $14.5 million with incentives. That's not a contract for a backup running back who isn't going to play. His 2021 cap hit ranks 23rd among running backs, according to Spotrac.
Perhaps Drake gets used more as a receiver out of the backfield, but that still cuts down Jacobs' snap counts a bit. Jacobs played at least 59% of snaps in 10 games last season and that was without much else behind him on the depth chart. Drake is a talented back, and got paid as such. Always follow the money in the NFL: Drake will have some key role.
Jacobs could still get to 1,000 yards even if he slots mostly as a two-down back. Jacobs had 1,150 and 1,065 yards his first two seasons. But not much can go wrong. An injury, Drake taking over a little more of the load than Jacobs is used to as a Raider, Las Vegas could find itself in more negative game scripts (which would presumably give Drake more snaps as the Raiders pass the ball) ... any of it could cut into Jacobs' yardage just enough to leave him shy of 1,000.
There are more ways it can go wrong for Jacobs than there are for other backs near Jacobs in BetMGM's rushing totals. Bet the under and hope Jacobs doesn't hit all the green lights he'd need to hit the over.
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