The Oakland Raiders will be entering a post-Beast Mode era in 2019 but even without Marshawn Lynch, the running game looks solid.
With Lynch having gone into the sunset, the Raiders now head into this season with a young and hungry stable of runners looking to make a splash.
There are still some holdovers from the Jack Del Rio era in Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, but the newest face, and arguably the most important, is Josh Jacobs by way of the University of Alabama.
The Jalen Richard Effect
Both Richard and Washington figure to still be contributors in this offense knowing that there isn’t a clear back who can be a workhorse. Last year statistically speaking, Richard had solid numbers and had a PFF rating of 67.0 while Washington ended with a 62.2 grade.
Richard caught 68 receptions last year and while that number figures to go down with the addition of receivers such as Antonio Brown, it’s been established Richard can be a useful weapon out of the backfield.
Head coach Jon Gruden got his running back this year at the NFL draft in the form of Josh Jacobs. Pro Football Focus said back in March that Jacobs was the “No. 1 running back in the draft” so needless to say, Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock hit a home run barring any injuries.
In fact, 41% of Jacobs’ carries went for a first down or a touchdown in his final year at Alabama, which was the highest in college football as Mike Renner of PFF pointed out.
All of these are ingredients for something potentially great in Oakland this year as long as the coaching staff can maximize these new tools. Remember neither Richard or Washington have ever been the primary back and Jacobs, while fresh compared to most who come out of Alabama, will be a rookie.
It will be interesting to keep an eye on the running back position as training camp approaches.