Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs still top-3 players in ESPN’s rankings

Jul 18, 2023, 10:58 AM

Davante Adams #17 talks to Josh Jacobs #28 of the Las Vegas Raiders on the sidelines in the fourth ...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 23: Davante Adams #17 talks to Josh Jacobs #28 of the Las Vegas Raiders on the sidelines in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at Allegiant Stadium on October 23, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Over the past week, ESPN has released its positional rankings ahead of the 2023 season. And despite the team’s struggles last season, two members of the Las Vegas Raiders offensive — Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams — popped up inside the top three at their respective positions.

ESPN’s senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler surveyed executives, coaches, scouts and players for the network’s annual ranking.

Here’s where the Raiders stand.

Running back

Josh Jacobs, last season’s NFL rushing champion comes in at number three on ESPN’s list. Jacobs rushed for 1,653 total yards and became only the second Raider to win the NFL’s rushing title. Raider legend and Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen led the league in rushing in 1985, his MVP season, with 1,759 yards.

On top of that, he also caught 53 passes for 400 yards. Everything he did last year is how the Raiders should have been using him his whole career, one NFL executive told Fowler.

“I don’t think they were using him properly. They gave him the ball often so he could get to the second level and use his twitch and make-you-miss ability.”

The question now is, when will we see Jacobs again? Prior to the 2022 season, the Raiders declined to pick up his fifth-year option. And following Monday’s news that the two sides did not come to an agreement on a long-term deal, reports indicate Jacobs may not appear at Raiders training camp.

Wide receiver

Last year’s number one wide receiver, Davante Adams slid one spot in 2023 to number two on ESPN’s list.

In his first year with the Silver and Black, Adams became the new Raiders single-season receiving yards record-holder, catching 1,516 receiving yards and leading the NFL in touchdowns with 14.

Adams surpassed 100 yards receiving nine times with a season-high of 177 yards against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 14. He even concluded the year with his third straight NFL All-Pro Team honors. One NFC executive pointed out that even though Adams is reliant on a lot of targets, defenses still can’t stop him.

“His feet are still probably the best, body control, ball skills,” an NFC executive said. “If you ran 40s or 20-yard shuttles, he wouldn’t be near the top or wow you, but he just knows how to play the position and get open.”

Edge rushers

Last, but not least, Maxx Crosby ranks sixth in the edge rushers category and is the only defender from the Raiders to make the rankings.

The 25-year-old defender did not receive many top-five votes, Fowler notes but was a consensus top-10 player. In 2022, Crosby had three forced fumbles, 12.5 sacks, and 89 combined tackles.

“His effort and intensity on a daily basis, I’ve never seen it matched,” a veteran NFL defensive coach said. “He just cares so much.”

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Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs still top-3 players in ESPN’s rankings