The Oakland Raiders will definitely have a different look on offense in 2019 and their backfield is no exception. Even with the addition of Isaiah Crowell in free agency, another running back or two may be drafted to compete with Jalen Richard, Chris Warren and DeAndre Washington for playing time this fall.
There are still lots of questions as Crowell has never been a bell cow, and while Richard has proven to have good hands out of the backfield, he has been more of a third down option than someone who can share the workload.
Washington was drafted by the previous staff and has never quite developed. It would be an understatement to say that Warren still has lots to prove, especially when you have people asking if he’s ready to make that leap like former Raiders Michael Bush did years ago when he sat out his first year with Oakland.
Were Warren’s 2018 preseason performances just a tease the way he was at University of Texas? Yes, lots of draft analysts have the Raiders taking a running back such as Josh Jacobs or Miles Sanders in the first or even second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but with so many needs, I get the feeling Oakland just might wait until Day 3 of the draft or later to add competition to their backfield.
If they do so, here are four running backs the Raiders can target:
Dexter Williams, Notre Dame
Everyone talks about Josh Jacobs being a big play back with not a lot of mileage on his body. Williams is the same as he had only 5 more carries than Jacobs did in his career. A guy that can make one cut and take it to the house. His forty time of 4.57 at the combine doesn’t do his game speed justice. He was tied for first in the long jump and second in the 20-yard shuttle amongst running backs, which matches his quickness on film. Williams can be the home run back the Raiders have been missing for a long time.
Alexander Mattison, Boise State
Okay, okayâ€¦ being an ex-Boise State Bronco makes me a little biased in picking Mattison. He is a jack of all trades and what coach doesn’t like that? He can catch the ball (55 receptions the last two years), run well inside the tackles (2,500 yards rushing to go along with 29 TD’s the last 2 seasons) and does a great job in picking up the blitz. A physical back at 5’11” and 221 pounds, he could push Warren and may even beat him out.
Elijah Holyfield, Georgia
Holyfield showed he was the â€œReal Deal” last year. The ex-Heavyweight Champ’s son had to sit behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel his first few seasons at Georgia, but once he was given the chance, he ran for over 1,000 yards in 2018 and can make people miss while also running with authority. He looked like a sure mid-round pick until the combine. There, he ran poor 4.78 and 4.81 forty yard dashes and didn’t help his cause by running poor times again (rumored to be up to 4.85) at his Pro Day. Holyfield was also arrested two years ago for two misdemeanor drug charges, but may end up being a steal in draft night.
Benny Snell, Kentucky
The Wildcat’s all-time leading rusher is a hard nosed runner that knows how to get to the end zone (48 career TD’s). Snell isn’t a breakaway threat, but when you watch him, he always seems to be falling forward. More of a North-South runner than East-West, the Raiders need a physical back at the goal line, especially if Marshawn Lynch is not brought back.