Raiders Kept a Keen Eye on Alabama RBs Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – General manager Mike Mayock was the most prominent Raider at Alabama's pro day. He wasn't the only one with a keen eye on the Crimson Tide's NFL draft prospects.

New running backs coach Kirby Wilson was on hand Tuesday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. shadowing Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris. The Raiders remain unsettled at the position, and Wilson was afforded the luxury of checking out the draft's top two rushing prospects at the same time.

Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris should be the first running backs taken off the board. Both guys could be Raiders targets, and will be evaluated closely as they determine which players to take and when.

Both guys came off well during Tuesday's workouts.

It's odd to see top prospects from the same school, sharing carries throughout illustrious careers. There's no competition between the two for who gets drafted first, though both should be gone in two rounds. They just want to show well throughout the pre-draft process.

"The whole situation has never phased us," Harris said. "It has never even been a conversation about who goes first. I know that our friendship means more than where either of us get drafted. Josh is a guy that I have looked up to, and I hope that he has looked up to me and that I can be a positive influence in his life."

Those to have shared carries for the Crimson Tide, but will be drafted in places with an expectation they'll carry a significant load. Harris is a tough runner capable of pass protecting well and being an every-down player.

He has solid game tape and didn't feel pressure to impress at Alabama's pro day, though he went out and executed well.

"I wasn't necessarily looking to wow anybody or impress anybody," Harris said. "I just wanted to be myself and compete at a high level with guys I played with for a long time. I was able to do that today."

Jacobs didn't run at the NFL Scouting Combine and was generally limited there due to a minor groin injury, and his 40-yard dash in the 4.6s at Alabama's pro day. The number is but a minor component of his draft evaluation – Jacobs wasn't available to the media Tuesday -- and shouldn't greatly impact his draft stock.

"He didn't run as well as you would hope at 4.6 but I thought the field workout was outstanding, specifically him catching the football,"analyst Daniel Jeremiah said on the NFL Network's broadcast of Alabama pro day. "...The 4.6 is not ideal, but it's not going to cause him to fall very far."

Analysts generally consider Jacobs the draft's top running backs and possibly the position's only first-round pick.

Jacobs has ideal size and is a physical, three-down back. He's also a quality receiving option. His carry total was relatively low, though he was productive over 140 touches this season.

Harris was used more during his Alabama tenure, averaging 6.4 yards per carry while exceeding 1,000 yards twice in his four-year career.

Continued success is the goal for Harris and Jacobs, ready to move on and represent their university well.

"Being a running back at the University of Alabama is something to take very serious, something I take a lot of pride in," Harris said. "To be listed with some of the greats to come from this school is an honor. It's truly special and it's humbling."

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