Starters: Marshawn Lynch, Jamize Olawale (FB)
Depth: Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, Taiwan Jones, Elijah Hood
Additions: Marshawn Lynch, Elijah Hood (D-7)
Departures: Latavius Murray
The biggest splash the Raiders made this offseason was wooing Marshawn Lynch out of retirement to acquire him via trade with the Seahawks. He comes to the team on a 2-year deal, which could be voided after one.
At 31-years-old and with a year off from football, there is some uncertainty what to expect from this former All Pro. There is reason to believe he can be at least close to the player he was in 2014 – his last full season in the NFL. But there’s also that proverbial wall that running backs hit at 30 (Maurice Jones-Drew anyone?). The Raiders are banking on the former and Lynch will be the workhorse.
Richard was the Raiders top offensive rookie last season and arguably their top rookie period. He averaged an astounding 5.9 yards per carry, which was best in the league among backs with at least 80 carries. He has been the top back much of this offseason while Lynch was eased back into things.
Though fifth round rookie Washington wasn’t on Richard’s level last season, he had some respectable numbers of his own, with 87 carries for 467 yards (5.4 ypc). He will work to once again share the change-of-pace back snaps with Richard.
Olawale will again hold down the full back position on his own. Hood will look to find his niche and cling to a roster spot. Taiwan Jones will see most of his work on special teams with the occasional spread play to try and get the speedster in open space.
Lynch is decidedly an upgrade over Murray. Even at the age of 31, he has all the instincts and tenacity he ever had. The Raiders have arguably the best interior offensive line in football. All they need is a back that knows which hole to hit and how to bait linebackers into going where he’s not. Lynch does that better than most and once he gets to the second level, it’s Beast Mode time.
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