Starters: ???, Keith Smith (FB)
Backups: Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, Chris Warren III, James Butler, Ryan Yurachek
Free agents: Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin
Last season was split between Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin as the feature back. Martin was initially the backup until Lynch was lost to a groin injury at midseason. Between the two of them, they had nearly 1100 yards and each averaged 4.2 yards per carry. But Lynch looks like he could be done and Doug Martin was no a one-year deal, so his return status is unclear as well.
Richard didn’t do much as a runner, but was a valuable asset catching passes out of the backfield. His 68 catches tied Jared Cook for the team lead.
DeAndre Washington was barely on the field. He was active for ten games and saw 30 carries for 115 yards and on catch for nine yards.
Many fans have high hopes for Chris Warren III after leading the league in preseason rushing yards. The team stashed him on IR for his rookie campaign and he will get another shot in this year’s camp. Recent reports have him the 6-2 bruiser up to 270 pounds. He can pack a punch, but that might be a bit much. We’ll wait and see if he is that big come offseason workouts.
Keith Smith replaced Jamize Olawale and despite Smith showing equally impressive hands to his predecessor, he caught just 5 passes for 23 yards. He isn’t used nearly enough as a blocker either.
When you don’t know if you have a starter on the roster, that’s not a comfortable situation. Martin played surprisingly well, so bringing him back would probably be a good idea. Adding a long term solution from the draft would be a good idea and perhaps bringing in competition in free agency as well. We still don’t know whether Chris Warren’s preseason performance will translate to the regular season when he’d be facing starters.
What condition do you think the Raiders running back position is in?
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