Las Vegas Raiders running back Jalen Richard has seen his production dip these past few seasons, is this offseason the end of the line?
Richard proved to be a versatile weapon when he joined the Silver and Black as an undrafted rookie in 2016. Quickly becoming a favorite target of quarterback Derek Carr; Richard excelled as both a runner and a receiver. ’30’ accumulated 491 rushing yards off of 83 carries along with two receiving touchdowns, totaling 29 receptions out of the backfield. Fast forward to 2021, and Richard might be seeing the curtain drop on his Raiders career. For a myriad of reasons, his production has dipped considerably, with 2020 bringing career lows.
The question now becomes whether Richard is indeed expandable when looking at the roster. The team made a significant investment in free agent Kenyan Drake. The hope is that pairing him with Josh Jacobs will give the team a formidable one-two punch. Also, with so many viable receiving options currently on the team, it’s unlikely Richard could make an impact in that department.
Another aspect of Richard’s game that has diminished is his contribution to special teams. In his rookie year, Richard saw 34 punt returns and 17 kickoff returns in total. By comparison, last season he saw zero and just ten in those same categories, respectively. It’s certainly not a good sign when your services can’t be used on special teams on top of less offensive usage.
Could Richard re-join an old Raiders offensive coordinator?
Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report recently predicted Richard as the team’s most potential surprising cut. Moton pointed out that while Richard’s proven to be a versatile weapon in the past, as it stands, he doesn’t offer enough value as an asset.
“Richard is versatile, and the Raiders may need him in the backfield as a pass-blocker behind a remodeled offensive line, but he’s not a unique asset on the roster.”
Areas where Richard once contributed have been supplanted by youngsters such as Henry Ruggs III and Hunter Renfrow. Interestingly, Moton presented a scenario where Richard could land with the Tennessee Titans if he’s cut. One of his former offensive coordinators is now employed there, yes, we’re talking about the infamous Todd Downing. No doubt a fan favorite, Richard might simply be a victim of circumstance. He could very well end up finding playing time on another squad in need of his multifaceted talents.
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