As long as Josh Jacobs is in the backfield, the Las Vegas Raiders won’t have a need at the running back position. However, with Devontae Booker becoming a free agent this spring, the Raiders will have a hole or two to fill in the running back room. Here’s a look at three possible difference makers Las Vegas can pick up in this year’s draft.
The Raiders wil have options in the middle of the draft
Kenneth Gainwell seems like a consensus third or fourth round pick. The Memphis product would be a steal for the Raiders in those rounds as he would be the perfect compliment to Jacobs. Gainwell is the definition of dynamic. He is easily one of the best athletes in this year’s draft, and he’s a tremendous playmaker.
3. Kenneth Gainwell
21 years old
KG is one of my favorite college prospects in this years draft. He is a dynamic ball player that can break the top off when he reaches the 2nd level. Gainwell averaged 6.3 yards per carry.m in 2019. pic.twitter.com/udD3344mun
— Hollywood (@k1speed1) January 25, 2021
As you’ll see in the play above, Gainwell is tremendous as a receiving back. With the Raiders likely to lose some receiving depth this offseason, Kenneth would be even more valuable to this offense. He has reliable hands for a running back and excellent route-running. Also, he’s very creative and he showed the ability to consistently produce from the slot.
Memphis used him on a lot of screens last year, something Gruden loves to run. Gainwell is a great runner as well, and at 5’11”, 191 lbs. Gainwell plays above his weight. He also averaged over six yards per carry last year with Memphis. Gainwell is a player who must be on the Raiders’ radar come draft season.
Trey Sermon is a much bigger back than Gainwell, coming in at 6-foot, 224 pounds. He is currently projected to go late in the third round or early in the fourth, which again would be a steal for the Raiders.
To call Sermon’s 2020 season explosive would be an understatement. The running back shared the carries for much of the year, but finally grasped the lead-back role in the end of the year. He proved worthy, rattling off two impressive performances against Clemson and Alabama in the playoff games.
Trey Sermon is having himself a DAY. 🔥
His 231 yards (and counting) on the ground vaults him past Ezekiel Elliott for most in a Big Ten title game. 👏
— theScore (@theScore) December 19, 2020
Sermon’s college career can be compared to Josh Jacobs in a lot of ways: Low usage rate but excelled when given opportunities. He never had a season with more than 200 carries in college, so he has young legs much like Jacobs did coming out of college.
Adding Trey would add the same characteristics Devontae Booker brought to the Raiders’ offense last year. Like Booker, Sermon is big and physical, and capable of dominating the carries when necessary. He is also agile enough for his size, as you see in the clip above.
Like Gainwell, Jaret Patterson comes from a smaller school. The Buffalo grad filled the stat sheet in his sophomore and junior seasons, amassing 1,000 yards in both, and an unbelievable 38 touchdowns in the two years combined. What’s even more shocking? Patterson had 1,000 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in a six game season. Those are video game numbers, and they sent him rocketing up draft boards this spring.
EIGHT TOUCHDOWNS 😮
Jaret Patterson ties the NCAA record for rushing TDs in a game.
— theScore (@theScore) November 28, 2020
Patterson is simply insane. With those numbers you’d be more than surprised to find that most mock drafts currently have him as a fifth-round selection. Patterson is just under 200 pounds and he stands at just 5-foot-9.
With that combination of size and height, there’s a real chance NFL teams see him as just a third-down back.
Patterson also didn’t leave much of an impact in the passing game with Buffalo, and he lacks the agility needed to be an every-down back.
With that said, Patterson is still a very tough tackle. He runs with power and doesn’t struggle to break tackles. He also has great vision, and he runs very patient. His size allows him to hide behind lineman and wait for the hole to open.
Patterson also has incredible ball security, which is unique for his size and style of running. Patterson would be an excellent addition to the Raiders’ offense next year as a third-down-back.
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