Last season, Latavius Murray gave the Raiders their first 1000-yard runner in five years. He put up 1066 yards on the ground in his first season as the team's fulltime starter. And he did it with a line that was not all it was supposed to be. This year, the outlook is far brighter, and Murray is understandably pretty stoked about it.
"With some of the guys we've got in the trenches, it's exciting to me as a runner," Murray told the Bay Area News Group. "I'm sure Derek [Carr] is excited about what it will do for him and the guys on the outside too."
The big excitement comes from the addition of Kelechi Osemele, who is expected to step in at left guard. He joins interior linemen Rodney Hudson at center and Gabe Jackson at the other guard spot, making for one of the best interior blocking trios in the league.
In addition to the new blockers, the Raiders are expected to focus more on the run.
"I think it will help us with the consistency of our running game," Donald Penn said recently of Osemele's addition. "It will open a lot of things up. We won't have to be so one dimensional. It will open up a lot of things. The run game was good last year, but the problem was more consistency. He's a great run blocker, I think he's going to help bring consistency into the run game, and that's what we need."
The Raiders players will take the field for the first time on April 18 when the offseason program begins. After that, the next time they see each other will be in May, after the draft, at which point Murray could have some new backfield teammates
Right now Murray is the team's workhorse back, with Roy Helu Jr and Taiwan Jones also fighting for carries. But Del Rio has made it clear the team would like to add another running back to complement Murray. A 'running back by committee' situation would bring down Murray's carries, but it would also keep him fresher which could lead to him being a more efficient runner.