After missing all of 2011 with an MCL sprain, the 27-year-old will be the Jaguars' replacement for Maurice Jones-Drew if the reigning rushing champion continues his contract holdout—Jones-Drew has two years and $9.4 million remaining on his deal—or is traded. Jennings, who moonlights as a columnist for the Lynchburg News & Advance, near his Virginia home, was the team's seventh-round draft pick in 2009 out of Liberty. (He had originally enrolled at Pittsburgh but left to be closer to his father, who had a leg amputated.) At 6'1" and 228 pounds, he is neither fast nor quick, but he is a physical back who hits the hole hard and doesn't make many negative plays. In his first three preseason games, running with the first team, he averaged 4.9 yards per carry.
The exhibition season isn't necessarily predictive, but if Jennings has to play significant snaps this fall, the real key is whether he can run well enough to keep the pressure off of quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Jacksonville's front office clearly believes Jennings can. Gabbert's season may depend on it.