Las Vegas Raiders RB Alexander Mattison

Can The Newest Raiders RB Steal The Show This Season?

The departure of Josh Jacobs in free agency left a 1,000+ yard hole in the Las Vegas Raiders offense. When healthy and on the field last season, “JJ8” was a bell cow option that alleviated the pressure from rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell. All eyes have now fallen on former fourth-round selection Zamir White to make an equally significant impact in the backfield.

However, Raiders general manager Tom Telesco made a relatively unheralded signing in the offseason that could pay dividends down the stretch.

Alexander Mattison signed a 1-year, $2 million deal after a largely disappointing season in Minnesota. The Vikings gave the Boise State product the keys, and the results were lackluster at best. Mattison finished the season with 700 yards and three touchdowns on 180 carries. 3.9 yards a pop doesn’t evoke excitement, nor should it. The Vikings were missing quarterback Kirk Cousins most of the year, but their offensive line was in good health and is widely considered one of the better units in the league.

Sure, it’s understandable to write off Mattison as a top option, but in Vegas, he’s in a role he thrived in.

Alexander Mattison excelled as the No. 2 man in Minnesota

No one expected the San Bernardino native to unseat his incumbent, Dalvin Cook, after his draft selection in 2019. Instead, Mattison would wait his turn and deliver when called upon. Mattison only started two games in his first three NFL seasons, but the output was nowhere near disappointing.

Alexander Mattison’s Combined Stats in Season’s 1–3

Carries Yards YPC
330 1,387 4.2

In fact, if you compare Mattison’s averages as a backup to Zamir White’s 2023 results, the resemblance is uncanny. Zeus converted his four starts last season into 104 carries and 451 yards. Those numbers are a tick below what Mattison averaged over three seasons, with less than a handful of starts to his name.

Mattison’s Zone Of Interest

Mattison enters Las Vegas with plenty of tread left on the tires (less than 600 career carries) and an offense that should suit his running style.

New offensive coordinator Luke Getsy never shied away from the zone run game while in Chicago. During the 2023 season, the Bears would finish seventh in zone run percentage (73%). These statistics will suit the Raiders offensive line and their skillsets, but Mattison stands to benefit the most from this embraced philosophy.

Las Vegas will clearly want to dictate the pace of the game, and there’s no better way to do that than with clock-chomping running backs. Mattison may not be a burner, but he is well suited to move the chains.

And Most Importantly…

Mattison will be available. Zamir White has never been a bell cow option and has suffered two serious ACL injuries in the past. His new counterpart has a far less concerning history when it comes to blue tent visits.

In fact, aside from two concussions over three years and a minor ankle tweak, Mattison is ready and able to go.

In all honesty, a committee approach may serve this team best when it’s all set and done. If that is the case, Alexander Mattison will be more than prepared to put on a show.

*Top Photo: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

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