It became quickly apparent last season that the Raiders needed to add talent to the depth field to help out Pro Bowl running back Latavius Murray. After whiffing at the position in free agency, it was expected the Silver & Black would add depth in the 2016 NFL Draft.
As the draft progressed, the Raiders passed on several notable running backs including Paul Perkins and Devontae Booker. In the fifth round, Reggie McKenzie ultimately found his guy in Texas Tech's DeAndre Washington. What does Washington bring to the table and how will he contribute with the Raiders?
Weight: 204 lbs
Arm Length: 30"
Hand Size: 9"
2015: 1,492 YDS, 14 TD, 6.4 AVG
2014: 1,103 YDS, 2 TD, 5.9 AVG
2013: 450 YDS, 4 TD, 13.2 AVG
2015: First-Team All-Big 12
2014: Second-Team All-Big 12
DeAndre Washington perfectly fits the new breed of running backs that impact both the passing and running attacks. Washington's style of play is similar to Danny Woodhead's as he combines his elusiveness and soft hands to become a force out of the backfield. This makes him a great complement to Latavius Murray who is a vertical north/south runner.
One of Washington's best tools is his ability to stop on a dime and accelerate quickly. In the passing game, Washington has reliable hands and his agility makes him a legitimate threat to rack of yards after the catch.
The primary concern with Washington is his size at just 5-8, 204 lbs. For now he could be limited to a third down role with the Raiders. Luckily, they have Latavius Murray which will help keep Washington healthy and limit the number of hits he takes.
The other area Washington could improve is his vision. There are a number of times on film when he misses a cut or a hole that could have led to a longer gain.
What he brings to the Raiders:
While there has been talk the Raiders see Washington as an every down back, I can't see that happening unless he gains weight. For now, I think he will provide a great complement to Latavius Murray as a dual threat third down option.
What I love about this pick is that in so many ways, Murray and Washington are complete opposite players. This makes for a great backfield as it increases the ways in which the coaches can use their running backs, and it also makes it more difficult for defensive coaches to scheme against the Raiders rushing attack.