Oakland Raiders Running Backs Ranked 30th In NFL


May 26, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Trent Richardson (33) carries the ball under the supervision of running backs coach Bernie Parmalee at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The running back position has been a position of weakness for the Oakland Raiders in recent years. First round draft pick Darren McFadden never living up to his potential hampering the running game since the turn of the decade as the Raiders ground attack hasn’t been a threat for years now. Something that was evidenced in 2014 as the Raiders ranked dead last in the league in rushing yardage.

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Those struggles in the running game have been addressed somewhat by the additions of veterans Roy Helu and Trent Richardson to pair with the emerging Latavius Murray, but NFL.com analyst Marc Sessler is not convinced as he ranked the Oakland Raiders 30th in his preseason evaluation of each team’s current backfield units with Training Camp approaching.

Oakland were ranked a full 17 spots below the closest AFC West team as every division rival of the Raiders were placed inside of the Top 15 by Sessler. Only the Titans and the Buccaneers, two teams who finished below Oakland in the 2014 standings, ranking below the Raiders in the NFL.com running back rankings.

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Of course preseason rankings are meaningless exercises that are created to fill the void between now and the start of actual games to breakdown, but the fact that the Raiders are again so lightly regarded shows the reality that the Oakland backfield still has a long way to go before it can be considered in the top half of running back units in the league. What is good for the Raiders is that their oldest running back is 26 (Roy Helu), an upgrade from last season’s failed experiment to go with worn down veterans to shoulder the workload.

If the likes of Richardson and Helu can compliment Murray this is a trio that could do more than what is expected, but as Sessler should remind fans the expectations outside of Oakland are far lower than what Raiders fans have for their running backs. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for now the expectation is that the Raiders struggles on the ground could remain even with an overhaul in coaching and in personnel. That may change once the season gets going, but that is the reality that the Raiders are facing from a preseason standpoint in that many expect the team to struggle yet again in moving the football via their running backs.