With the NFL draft less than a month away, the Las Vegas Raiders are putting the finishing touches on their draft board. Here at the Raider Ramble, it is no different. Over the next three weeks, final rankings for every position group in the 2020 NFL draft class will be released, and running backs are second on the list
Here’s the first part:
The Raiders Current RB Situation
The 2019 NFL draft yielded dividends for the Raiders at the running back position with one of their selections acquired from the Khalil Mack trade.
Josh Jacobs was first RB selected in the 2019 NFL Draft as he was the No. 24 pick going to the Oakland Raiders. Jacobs also becomes the first Alabama RB taken in first round since Trent Richardson in 2012 was drafted at No. 3.pic.twitter.com/jRVU6n2Gcshttps://t.co/0tj1anAhg7
— Alabama Crimson Tide | BamaInsider.com (@bamainsider) April 26, 2019
Josh Jacobs had a bruising campaign in 2019. Even though he fractured his shoulder midway through the season, he still managed to rush for 1,150 yards with seven touchdowns. However, it is intriguing to wonder what could have been had he played the entire season after he missed three games.
Moving forward, the team must acquire another back to maximize the longevity of their star offensive player. Jalen Richard is an excellent pass protector and receiving back, but his smaller physical frame cannot effectively spell Jacobs’ running style. With that being said, the Silver and Black harbor the means to acquire another bruising ball carrier.
The Top 10 RB Prospects
Because of the 2019 addition of Jacobs, it is unlikely the Raiders will invest in another running back in the early rounds of the 2020 NFL draft. However, this year’s class is loaded with talent.
Georgia’s D’Andre Swift seems go be the consensus top pick at the position and the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native lives up to his last name.
Odds to be the first RB selected in the draft:
D’Andre Swift -150
Jonathon Taylor +160
JK Dobbins +600
The field +1200
— Bet The Pigskin (@BetThePigskin) March 26, 2020
Swift can immediately become a starter for any team that drafts him in the first round due to his combined athleticism, patience, and vision. Shortly after his selection, Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor will quickly find new teams by the beginning of the second round. Dobbins, who holds the Ohio State all-time single season rushing record, has the potential to bear the most successful career of all ball carriers in this year’s class.
— ESPN (@espn) December 29, 2019
After the top three backs, there is a slight decrease in talent. LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire may not be selected in the first or second round, but that does not diminish his skillset. He is highly effective in all roles of the position, but what separates him from every other back in the class is his receiving prowess.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire. One of the great plays you’ll see. Weakside option. Closes cushion, nasty route break underneath outside-leveraged LB, smooth hands catch in traffic. Then the play really gets started. pic.twitter.com/kZL5j4vMK4
— J Moyer (@JMoyerFB) February 1, 2020
Expect him to get picked early third round selection. Following Edwards-Helaire, Florida State’s Cam Akers and Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin may hear their names called in the third round as well.
Top Mid-Round NFL Draft RB Prospect:
Cam Akers – FSU JR
2nd Team All-ACC (2019)
3rd Team All-ACC (2017)
FSU FR Rushing Récord (2017) pic.twitter.com/GbU8mkZXZO
— Boom, It’s Football! (@BoomItsFBALL) April 1, 2020
Both backs are excellent in space and serviceable pass catchers. Utah’s Zack Moss fits the mold of a physical back in the fourth round, but his injury history could be a potential red flag. Ultimately, the most qualified candidate at the position hails from general manager Mike Mayock’s alma mater.
A.J. Dillon – Boston College
If the Silver and Black want physicality behind Josh Jacobs and Jalen Richard, they have no need to look any further than Dillon.
excuse me, A.J. Dillon, but, what? pic.twitter.com/U5YWfslW1T
— dannybkelly (@DannyBKelly) January 22, 2020
Weighing in at 250 pounds, Dillon absorbs contact and gains strength over the course of a game. He has similar features to Titans running back Derrick Henry in the aspect that he imposes his will on opposing defenses until he wears them down. For the Raiders, using a fourth round selection on him would provide first rate insurance for Jacobs.
The Raiders have found a potential annual offensive player of the year candidate in Josh Jacobs, so they must exhaust all venues to ease his workload. There are many backs with similar skill set to Jalen Richard’s in this class, but the need for a physical ball carrier to maximize the effectiveness of Jacobs should be the utmost priority should the Silver and Black desire the most impactful rushing attack.
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