Maurice Jones-Drew is coming home! After spending his first eight seasons as a Jacksonville Jaguar, Jones-Drew will now don the silver and black of the Oakland Raiders. Born in Pinole, California, he attended De La Salle High School in Concord. There he was part of a team that contributed to the school’s 151-game winning streak. After high school he attended UCLA from 2003 to 2005 and was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round (60th overall) of the 2006 National Football League Draft.
During his eight seasons in Jacksonville, Jones-Drew was an All-Pro, selected to the Pro Bowl three times as he etched his name into the Jaguars record book. He currently holds Jaguars records in career rushing touchdowns (68), rushing touchdowns in a single season (15), rushing yards in a single season (1,606), career kickoff return touchdowns (2), career kickoff return yards (2,054) and longest kickoff return (100 yards), and he is second in career rushing yards behind only Fred Taylor. He finished his Jaguars career with 8,071 yards and 68 touchdowns on the ground and added 335 receptions for 2,873 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Jones-Drew currently sits 45th on the NFL all-time rushing yards list and is fifth among active players behind Steven Jackson (10,678 yards), Adrian Peterson (10,115 yards), Frank Gore (9,967 yards) and Willis McGahee (8,474 yards). He is tied for 31st on the NFL all-time rushing touchdown list and is second among active players, behind only Adrian Peterson’s 86.
Many were shocked when the Raiders chose not to resign their leading rusher from the 2013 season, Rashad Jennings (733 yards and six touchdowns) and instead opted to resign Darren McFadden. To their credit they were able to sign McFadden to a fairly cheap one-year deal. Jones-Drew — who played in 15 games, rushed for 803 yards and scored five touchdowns in 2103 — joins a backfield in Oakland that includes Darren McFadden, Latavius Murray, Jeremy Stewart, Kory Sheets and Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece. Early indications are that Jones-Drew and McFadden will battle for the Raiders’ starting running back position this coming season.
“(McFadden) kind of has a leg up on me because he’s been in this offense already before,” said Jones-Drew. “My job is to come in and to compete to play. We both have something to prove and that will help us all out in the long run, competing and being able to push each other.”
With the injury history of McFadden during his six-year career and Jones-Drew’s the last few years, the team may benefit more from a committee approach to their ground game in 2014. He will be 29 years old at the start of the 2014 season — no doubt on the backside of his NFL career, but if he can remain healthy there is no reason he cannot play and produce into his mid-30s.
“I have a ton left in my game,” Jones-Drew said. “People tend to look at running backs and say, ‘Oh, you’re 29, you don’t have anything left. … I feel like I have a ton left in the tank and I get an opportunity to show that here in Oakland.”
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew sits down on “NFL Total Access” to discuss moving back home to play with the Oakland Raiders:
Can Maurice Jones-Drew regain his Pro-Bowl form? Can McFadden stay healthy in 2014? Who will be the Raiders starting running back this season? We can’t know the answers to these questions yet, but it will be exciting to see how things unfold in the next few months!
(Stats courtesy of www.pro-football-reference.com)