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Raiders Free Agency 2015 Wishlist: Running back

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Running back is a moderate need as voted on by the fans and I agree with that standing. Latavius Murray is the starter as of now and he had some good looking moments in 2014, but he is far from a sure thing and the Raiders need to protect their interests at the position.

The biggest name out there at any position is DeMarco Murray but his arrival in Oakland goes beyond wishlist and into pipe dream territory. No question about it, he would be a tremendous addition to the Raiders. But after an incredible season last year he will be getting a HUGE payday. Even with all the money the Raiders have to spend, it's hard to imagine them getting in on that sweepstakes. Not with the kind of emphasis Reggie McKenzie puts on the draft.

So, let's look at the those who we should expect to see receive interest from the Raiders.

C.J. Spiller

Coming out of college, CJ Spiller looked as dynamic a running back as anyone had ever seen. Three of his five NFL seasons he has been pretty good, with one of those seasons living up to all his potential. His career thus far has been an almost perfect arch. His rookie season he averaged 3.8 yards per carry, then 5.2 ypc, then his best season with 1244 yards and 6.0 ypc in 2012, then 4.6 ypc in 2013, and finally back to 3.8 ypc last season.

Many of those years he shared carries with Fred Jackson. Spiller was the dash to Jackson's slash. That's what he would do sharing a backfield with Latavius Murray. Spiller is also just 27 so he has one more good contract left in him.

Here is what Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings had to say about Spiller:

He had one really outstanding season in 2012, surrounded by a couple of okay seasons (2011 and 2013), and bookended by a couple of really bad/unfortunate seasons (2010, 2014). He's not an instinctive runner, but if you can scheme him into space, he's one of the more electrifying players in the league. He's much more of a Darren Sproles than a Jamaal Charles. His role needs to be very specific; he can't just be your running back. Spiller has also had a variety of minor injuries (plus one major one, a broken collarbone, last season), so durability is a minor concern. With the Bills moving to a power-running offense, I think it's more likely than not that Spiller walks.

Ryan Mathews

Mathews is a former teammate of Derek Carr at Fresno State - Mathews was a star tailback and Carr was a redshirt freshman. They both are also from Bakersfield and went to High School there. Jack Del Rio should know him pretty well, considering in 2013 the Broncos gave up their highest rushing total (177) of the season to the Chargers and Mathews had his best game of the season with 127 yards and a touchdown. Mathews scored touchdowns in both of their meetings with the Broncos that season. In fact, four of the top five rushing totals of Mathews' career came against Denver. He would get to continue to put it on Denver with the Raiders.

Shane Vereen

Born and raised in Valencia in Southern California and a Cal alum, it might be appealing to him to return to California to continue his NFL career. The former second round pick wasn't able to do much his first three seasons with the Patriots, mainly due to injuries, but he had career highs last season appearing in all 16 games, starting 6 games, with 391 yards on 96 carries. He has had just one career game over 100 yards (101).

Here is what Rich Hill of Pats Pulpit had to say about Vereen:

Vereen was drafted with the potential to be an every-down running back, but that never came to fruition. He struggled with injuries during his time on the Patriots, before finally staying healthy this past season, and it seemed to really hinder his development. He's not a strong runner in between the tackles, especially in a power style offense, but has some value in the zone.

Technically he can play every down as he's averaged over 4.0 yards per carry during the past three seasons and he became the Patriots best pass blocking back, but his biggest strength comes in his receiving ability out of the backfield. He can flex outside and, when matched up against a linebacker, is a win for the offense every time (http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-cant-miss-plays/0ap3000000412020/Wk-7-Can-t-Miss-Play-That-was-In-Shane).

Roy Helu

He won't get a great deal of interest on the open market and if he is still left out there when the dust settles, it could be worth it to bring this East Bay native (Danville) back home to try and stick with the Raiders. People like to label him a zone runner, but that's simply because he was drafted by Mike Shanahan. He actually improved his yards per carry from 4.3 in Shanahan's offense to 5.4 under new head coach, Jay Gruden.