In continuation of my series asking you who will lead the team in various categories, we come to rushing yards. The Raiders addressed their backup RB spots this offseason in the draft and in free agency, so let's look at the options.
Darren McFadden- He was drafted in 2008 to be The Guy, and for the most part he has performed well when he has been on the field. He obviously didn't take well to the zone blocking scheme last year, but nobody else did either. We have to go back to 2010 and look at McFadden's breakout year to see what he can really do: 1664 all-purpose yards and ten total touchdowns. He was a beast that year and was a major part of Oakland's success. With the quarterback spot not being a strength for several seasons now (with apologies to Campbell and Palmer, but they made the team not suck rather than actively making them a good team) McFadden has been relied upon to make the Raiders a dangerous team. He is fully capable of that and if he stays healthy he will put up good numbers, both rushing and receiving. If he can't, the team has other options and may seek to move on from him.
Rashad Jennings: Oakland signed him as a free agent from Jacksonville this offseason. Earlier in his career, he was considered one of the top backup running backs in the league. He performed well in spelling Maurice Jones-Drew, but taking over as the starter for a few games last season he did not do very well. The whole Jaguars team was a train wreck of epic proportions so it's difficult to judge Jennings based on that. After being drafted out of Liberty, some considered Jennings a 'small-school' back but forget that he originally attended Pitt and was only the second true freshman to start there, before transferring to Liberty due to an illness in his family. Jennings has good size at 6'1", 228 lbs. If McFadden were to get injured, Jennings would be the first man up.
Latavius Murray: A physical specimen at 6'3" and 230 lbs, Murray also sports a ridiculous 4.38 40-yard dash time, which makes one puzzled about how the Raiders were able to steal this guy so late in the draft. While he did play at mid-major UCF, it's not like Murray never played against high-level competition- he was the MVP of the 2010 Liberty Bowl in which he torched an excellent Georgia Bulldogs defense for 104 rushing yards and the game's only touchdown. Murray, the 2007 New York State High School Player of the Year, had an excellent career at Central Florida, finishing with 2,424 rushing yards and 37 rush touchdowns in addition to 524 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns. He averaged over ten yards per reception, and in his senior season averaged 5.6 yards per carry on nearly 200 touches. The size is there, the speed is there, the production is there. This guy is a monster and if he'd gone to an SEC school would have gone in the top two rounds. Will he be the new Michael Bush, or something even better?
So what do you think, Nation? Who will lead the team in rushing this year? Who is the team's best option going forward? Vote in the poll and discuss it all in the comments!