The Las Vegas Raiders need help at wide receiver but with a lackluster free agent class, why not build on a team strength instead?
Would Raiders general manager Mike Mayock actually bring back Amari Cooper? Is he going to invest big money in Robby Anderson, who’s never cracked 1,000 yards receiving? The free agent class at wide receiver is underwhelming, which leads us to believe Las Vegas will reload via the draft next month. This would be optimal as the Raiders could walk away with two, maybe three young receivers to go along with what they already have in house. That being said, why not spend that money on free agent Derrick Henry? Yes, I realize this isn’t NFL Madden but building on the running game would help quarterback Derek Carr more than any wide receiver could.
If head coach Jon Gruden truly wanted to “take it back to 1998”, building a power running monster with Josh Jacobs and Henry could provide the ultimate safety blanket. You already have the pieces to make this happen next season. Rodney Hudson and Richie Incognito in the middle, and a bevy of talented tight ends at your disposal. Henry for his part, hasn’t been much of a factor in the passing game as he’s never had more than 18 receptions in one single season. That wouldn’t be an issue as you’d have Jalen Richard in the fold as well.
Lightning and Thunder
Assuming the Tennessee Titans don’t bring back their star running back, Henry and Jacobs would have Raiders fans reminiscing of Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson on the same field. We’ve seen what Gruden thinks of Carr in his offense, but that dink and dunk approach won’t elevate the Raiders. And, if the organization does not move on from Carr in free agency, why not go all in on the running game? We all know the running back position has been devalued in the last decade but, perhaps a front loaded contract for two years could entice Henry, let’s not forget about the Nevada tax incentive.
Schematically, a Henry/Jacobs tandem could be downright scary and it would give defensive coordinators nightmares. Henry averaged 5.1 years per rush while Jacobs averaged 4.8, in addition, the former had 53 rushing first downs while the latter had 73 on his end. The defense would also benefit tremendously from such a duo as well, the more the offense stays on the field, the more the defense remains fresh preventing burnout. Raider Nation was forced to endure constant three and outs last year, which obviously hurt the defense as the season progressed culminating in the disaster that was the final regular season game in Oakland.
Feel the Running Back Power
The ability of these two monsters to gain yardage after contact was also evident, now imagine both of them together. In 2019, Henry had 968 yards after contact with 29 broken tackles. For his part, Jacobs had 683 yards after contact and broke 26 tackles. With Raiders fullback Alec Ingold paving the way for them, this stable would be downright scary and impossible to stop.
It would be easy to dismiss this scenario as nothing more than fantasy but that’d be short-sighted. Given the Raiders struggles and the turnover at wide receiver, why not protect Carr with a true power running scheme? And to play Devil’s Advocate, what if Tom Brady decided an offense with Henry, Jacobs, Richard, Ingold, and a duo of Darren Waller and Foster Moreau is what he needs? Worst case scenario, you ride this running behemoth all the way to the Super Bowl and ask Carr to just not screw it up, reminiscent of the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Brad Johnson.
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