Expectations were low for Devontae Booker of the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020, and many fans didn’t expect his role to be as large as it was. However, the veteran took everyone by surprise and became an excellent second option at running back.
Devontae Booker had a bounce-back season in 2020
Most fans didn’t expect much from Booker this year, and that was a reasonable expectation to have. He had a solid rookie season in 2016 with over 600 rushing yards. Nevertheless, in the three years after, combined, Booker tallied only 491 yards, with just nine of those coming in 2019. The Raiders signed him this offseason to form a trio with Jalen Richard and Josh Jacobs.
Most fans expected Jacobs and Richard to carry the load, and that Booker wouldn’t be more than a third option. Booker completely silenced that narrative with a very impressive 2020 season. As Jacobs second-hand man, ’23’ gathered 423 rushing yards on 93 carries, good enough for 4.5 yards per pop. He also added three touchdowns and 84 receiving yards. He played his best game of the year against his former team, the Denver Broncos, as you’ll see below.
RB Devontae Booker gets TD on another split zone run, 12 personnel. Play-side blocking gets good movement from RG Jackson, C Hudson. Hudson is vastly underrated. LG Good seals DT. Booker makes LB miss in hole.#Raiders #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/egzbpsq4ba
— Ryan Holmes, MBA (@Rholm22) November 16, 2020
Importance to the Raiders’ Offense
Jacobs had a very impressive second season, but he did take a step back in a couple of areas. This is where Booker really showcased his value to this team. He had displayed flashes in the past of his capability to be the first option at running back, and he did that again in 2020. Since the Raiders had two other capable running backs in Jacobs and Richard, Booker didn’t get too many touches.
However, in Week 10 against Denver, this Las Vegas team needed Booker to step up and he did. He got 16 touches against Denver and took them for 81 yards and two scores. He was a difference-maker in the Raiders’ first matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, racking up 62 yards on seven carries, including a big one that jump-started a Raiders drive when they were losing early in the game. In Week 9, Booker recorded 68 yards and a score on just eight touches against the Chargers.
It doesn’t seem like much on the stat sheet, But Booker really did add a ton to this Raiders offense. He was crucial to Gruden’s rushing attack, as he formed a terrific 1-2 punch with Jacobs. The Utah standout was just on a one-year deal, however, and he enters 2021 as an unrestricted free agent. Considering his importance to the Raiders last year, it’s a no-brainer decision the team’s brass should make:
Bring Devontae back.
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Top Photo: Noah K. Murray/Associated Press