At times this offseason, the Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch might feel like a camp counselor. Lynch, 31, is the elder statesmen of a running back room that boasts no other back over the age of 24. The rest of the group—DeAndre Washington, 24, Jalen Richard, 23 and Elijah Hood, 21—have two years of NFL experience between them.
“He’s an ‘OG’ in this league,” Washington said of Beast Mode after the Raiders’ minicamp session Tuesday. “Just being in the room with him, dissecting film, picking up pointers ...has been huge,” he said.
Washington made his presence felt during his rookie season in 2016, as the 5th round pick out of Texas Tech accumulated 467 yards on 87 carries, good for 5.4 yards per carry.
As a fellow rookie, Richard also performed admirably, picking up 491 yards on 83 carries for an outstanding 5.9 YPC. He only racked up one rushing touchdown—a 75 yard scamper against the New Orleans Saints on his first career carry—but that can be attributed to the consistency with which Latavius Murray was given the ball in the red zone.
Bringing in Beast Mode to mentor these young, talented backs should be rewarding for the Raiders not just this season, but for the foreseeable future.
“It’s been really cool to sit back and learn from him,” said Richard, who landed a spot on the team last summer as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi. “To actually have him here in person and have that physicality there...has been really helpful,” he said.
Not to be forgotten, the Raiders also spent a seventh round pick on North Carolina’s Elijah Hood this summer. At 5’11, 232 pounds, he is closer in stature to Beast Mode and possesses a more prototypical build for a feature back than either Washington or Richard.
After putting up 2,580 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns during his time at Chapel Hill, many draft analysts praised the Raiders late selection of Hood in April’s draft. Hood got downright emotional after the team drafted him at the thought of joining Lynch in the Raiders’ backfield.
“I mean Beast Mode,” Hood said shortly after being drafted last April. “I just can’t wait to be in that running back room with him. He has so much to offer He’s a veteran. The way he conducts business, he’s a professional. I feel like I have so many questions I need to ask him and learn from him about the game and NFL and what it takes to be successful. It’s just so much much to take in. I’m about to be in a room with this guy. He’s literally the man who I wanted to become as a running back.”
Among all the ways Marshawn Lynch is impacting this team on and off the field, his presence figures to reverberate through the entire running back group.
Editor’s note: Levi Damien contributed to this article.