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2016 Raiders depth chart breakdown, 53-man roster projection, position battles: Running back

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Next in our series examining the Raiders roster, we project who among the running backs will crack the final 53 as well as take a spot on the 10-man practice squad.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Starters:

Latavius Murray - 4th year
Jamize Olawale (FB) - 5th year

Returning as the feature back in this offense will be Latavius Murray following his first season as the full time starter in which he amassed 1070 yards rushing and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate. Olawale signed an extension last season which will keep him a Raider for a long time. He is considered the heir apparent to Marcel Reece who is entering the final year on his contract with the Raiders and will be 32 by this time next year.

Reserves:

DeAndre Washington - Rookie (D-5)
Taiwan Jones - 6th year

Washington was the team's 5th round pick in a draft we knew the Raiders would add a complementary running back. Jones won't see a lot of carries; he's more of a gimmick/spread runner. His value is mostly on special teams as a kick returner and gunner.

Position battle:

Latavius Murray vs DeAndre Washington

Murray may be penciled in as the starter, but Washington is nearly 1a. There will be plenty of carries to go around for these two, but make no mistake, this will also be a competition for who sees the field the most. Murray established himself last season as a workhorse back, but faded down the stretch. Washington will take some of the load off of him, but due to Washington's abilities as a receiver, it's possible it ends up being Murray who is the relief instead.

Murray was inherited by Jack Del Rio while Washington perfectly fits the mold of the type of back Del Rio loves. The compact scat back has been compared to Maurice Jones-Drew who was drafted by the Jaguars under Del Rio and played most of his career for him, making three Pro Bowls and being named All Pro once. This battle could get interesting right away.

Suspended:

Marcel Reece (FB) - 8th year

Reece will not count against the initial regular season roster for the Raiders as he will be spending the first three games serving the rest of a four-game suspension that began last season. He will be expected to be made active once the suspension is done at which point the team will have to make a decision on who gets cut. It won't necessarily be a running back.

Practice squad:

Jalen Richard - Rookie (UDFA)

Looking at Richard's stature (5-8, 207) and running style, you can sure tell Del Rio has a type. Richard made the team after a tryout in rookie minicamp and I expect he will show enough potential to hang around on the practice squad.

Bubble watch

Roy Helu Jr -- 6th year

Nagging injuries upended his first season with the Raiders after signing a two-year deal. Offseason surgeries on both hips may be the only reason he wasn't cut before his 2016 salary kicked in. He has not yet hit the practice field which means the team could either wait until he's healthy to cut him or give him another shot in camp to make an impact.

The Rest

George Atkinson III - 2nd year

53-man roster projection (7/53)

Quarterbacks (3)

Derek Carr
Matt McGloin
Connor Cook

Running backs (4)

Latavius Murray
DeAndre Washington
Jamize Olawale
Taiwan Jones

Bubble watch

RB Roy Helu Jr

Practice squad (1/10)

RB Jalen Richard