Alec Ingold beat out Keith Smith during training camp to take the spot as the team’s fullback.
Many people think the fullback is a non-valuable position, and maybe it is compared to any other position, but in certain offenses, they can be a key component.
That was the case with this offense, as Gruden ran a lot of heavy two tight end sets as well as different alliterations of the I-formation which put Ingold on the field a decent amount.
We all know how great Josh Jacobs was this season, and on almost any run where he had Ingold paving the way in front of him, you would see a violent hit at the line to open a path for the rookie ball carrier.
An interesting stat that I didn’t even know existed is full-back assists, which means blocks by the fullback that result in a positive gain like this amazing diving lead block by Ingold.
Ingold was tied for second in the NFL with four other players in that stat with five. What’s also intriguing about that stat is the fact that the Raiders previous two fullbacks in Keith Smith and Jamize Olawale also had five.
Ingold was also an affective short-yardage back even when the defense knew he was getting it when he came on to the field in those situations.
Of his 10 rushes, seven of those went for first downs. And it should really be 8 out of 10 with another touchdown since the ball did cross the plane in his Week 17 4th-and-1 run.
With Jacobs looking to be the catalyst of this offense for the foreseeable future, it makes sense that Ingold will also be a mainstay given his lead blocking ability and strong relationship with Jacobs.
As a result, nabbing him as an undrafted free agent seems to be one of the more underrated moves by both Gruden and Mayock.
Like Ingold, A.J. Cole was another solid undrafted-free-agent addition at a position that isn’t the most valued.
Cole was 14th in the NFL in average yard per punt at 46.0, which isn’t exceptional.
But that stat doesn’t show his effectiveness, as the rookie punter was fifth in the league in punts downed inside the 20 with 33. With 67 punts on the year, nearly 50 percent of them were downed within the 20.
That percentage is top-five when compared to other punters in the league.
After an atrocious season of punting and as a result bad field position behind Johnny Townsend‘s leg last year, Cole was a breath of fresh air for the special teams unit.