JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If the Jacksonville Jaguars are keeping five running backs on the 53-man roster, Corey Grant pretty much locked up the final spot on Thursday night against the Washington Redskins.
Grant had done decent work as a kickoff returner -- team-best 28.8 yard average on five returns -- but that may not have been enough to earn a spot, especially since the Jaguars also have been using Denard Robinson there. The undrafted rookie from Auburn led the Jaguars with five carries for 74 yards and a score, including a 40-yard touchdown run in which he showed off his sub-4.3 speed.
“I think his speed really showed up," coach Gus Bradley said. "It’s something that we saw on his case and then for him to really showcase it in a game like this with his long legs is really good. He’s really grown. We’ve seen those flashes of speed in practice but to get the opportunity in a game is great for him.”
Said Grant: “It was a great feeling. You know, coming to the game, I think I had something to prove and it worked out.”
Robinson, T.J. Yeldon, Toby Gerhart and Bernard Pierce would be the Jaguars' top four backs. If he's No. 5, Grant will play mainly on special teams and won't get much work on offense, but it was good for him to show that he could be relied upon for spot work if there are injuries.
Grant making the roster means that Storm Johnson, the team's seventh-round pick in 2014, doesn't. The former Central Florida standout probably needed a big-time performance against the Redskins to have a chance but only managed 4 yards on seven carries. He also caught three passes for 15 yards but dropped a pass that would have converted a third down.
His body of work in the preseason is pretty dismal: 18 yards on 20 carries and four receptions for 21 yards.
The first inkling that Johnson's roster spot may have be in jeopardy came during OTAs when Bradley said he had plateaued a bit and they needed to get him going. That came after the team took Yeldon with their second-round draft pick.