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Could RB Jacobi Green keep Giants' Richmond pipeline humming?

Green is a small, but powerful running back who had a monstrous senior season.

Jacobi Green runs with the ball during the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
Jacobi Green runs with the ball during the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Jacobi Green is a 5-foot-9, 204-pound running back from Richmond who says "I think I play bigger than my size," and who admires the running style of now-retired former Seattle Seahawks's wrecking ball Marshawn Lynch.

"I just love the way he's an enforcer. I like his attitude running the ball, that's the way I try to run it," Green said of Lynch during a recent phone interview.

Yes, that is the way Green appears to try to run the ball. With apologies for the musical selection and the unfortunate language it includes (this was the only 2015 highlight video of Green I could find) watch the video below. If you're offended by the language, please turn off the sound. This is a guy who runs like anything in his path is an obstacle that needs to be destroyed.

"I’m more of a north/south type of guy. I can wiggle and cut back and all that … I’m not afraid of contact, I’ll lower my shoulder," Green said. "I played a lot of defense back in high school, so I really don’t mind it."

Green also runs like a guy who had to wait forever for his opportunity and wasn't going to let anyone stand in his way once he got it. Because, well, he is a guy who had to wait for his opportunity.

During his first three seasons with the Spiders, annually one of the better teams in the FCS, Green was a part-time player. In 2013 and 2014, he split time in the backfield with Seth Fisher, a 6-foot-2, 232-pound, who was named a preseason All-American by several publications heading into 2015.

Green, even at the beginning of his senior season, was biding his time as a part-time running back while also handling kickoff and punt return duties for Richmond.

When Fisher was injured, that changed. During a seven-game stretch, Green carried the ball no less than 20 times a game, with his high being 34 in a game against Albany. During that span, he carried the ball 192 times for 1,206 yards (6.3 yards per carry) with 16 rushing touchdowns.

Green finished his senior season with 1,595 yards rushing, a 6.0 yards per carry average, 21 rushing touchdowns, and 28 pass receptions.

"My first three years we were more of a spread, pass-first type offense. I was also sharing the load with Seth Fisher. I was not getting as many carries as I would like," Green said. "My senior year we moved to a more pro-style I and then Seth got hurt so I took over the load. That's why I think I exploded like I did."

Does Green have a shot to make it in the NFL? He told me he spoke with the Giants while practicing for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, and spoke with representatives from the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders at the Richmond Pro Day. Draft guides appear to indicate he is likely to have to try and make a team as an undrafted free agent.

Green is not a speed merchant, with his hard-running, physical style being his calling card. He ran a 4.54 40-yard dash at the Richmond Pro Day. That would put him middle of the pack among running backs tested at the NFL Scouting Combine. It is, however, the same 40 time posted by Derrick Henry of Alabama and Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech, both players expected to be selected in the first two days of the draft.

Here are Green's Pro Day measurables:

  • 40-yard dash: 4.54
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.17
  • Vertical jump: 33½ inches
  • Broad jump: 9 feet, 10 inches
  • Bench press: 23 reps (225 pounds)

Here is a scouting report on Green:

Green is a compactly built inside-out type of runner. At 5’9" he’s on the shorter side, but he’s not small at 198 pounds and he can put his head down and grind for extra yards. He destroyed Illinois State in their FCS playoff game by attacking the hole with authority, but also having the vision to set up second-level blocks and react accordingly. There are several times where he lowered his shoulder and ran through the would-be tackle.

Green consistently presses the hole. There is no dancing in the backfield, no wasted steps or motion either. He doesn’t cut sharply, and that’s part of why he’s trying to run through so many tackles; there isn’t much wiggle while he’s running. He has strong 3-step acceleration and speed but doesn’t have an above-average top gear in the open field. The Jacksonville native had over 50 receptions in his final two years and reports from the NFLPA game indicate he catches the ball cleanly and can pass protect, too. If that validates in training camp and preseason, I have little doubt Green will stick in the NFL. Coaches love versatile backs who can get hit in the backfield and still muster a 2-yard gain, and I think Green can do that just fine. His work in short-yardage and red zone situations as a senior was nothing short of sensational. 6th round grade from me, but at his size and relative lack of speed (one scout told me he expects Green to be in the 4.55 range) he’s a tough sell on draft weekend.

Draft projection: late 7th round-UDFA

The Giants have had a Richmond pipeline in recent years. Defensive end Kerry Wynn, safety Cooper Taylor, and wide receiver Ben Edwards all played for the Spiders. They have also been other former Richmond players in training camp. Could Green be the next Richmond player to get a chance with the Giants?