May 26, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Trent Richardson (33) catches a pass at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
- Starter: Latavius Murray
- Starter (Fullback/Hybrid Back): Marcel Reece
- Backup: Roy Helu Jr.
- Backup: Trent Richardson
In my opinion, Marcel Reece should be other starting running back for the Raiders, and be the player to split carries with Murray. That may not be the case at the start of the season, but for right now, I get to play GM and put my starters in (perks of the job I guess.)
This is an interesting set of talents spread across these four players. Murray is a big, fast downhill runner with potential to break off a touchdown run every time he touches the ball; if the blocking is there. Marcel Reece a jack of all trades player, he converted to fullback from wide receiver out of college and has been a consistent Pro Bowler at the position for a number of years. In Bill Musgrave’s new offense, the use of a traditional fullback is not going to be used, instead Reece will most likely line up as an H-Back. In my opinion, that’s the perfect position to utilize his wide range of skills.
Roy Helu Jr. and Trent Richardson are both great depth players for this team. Helu hasn’t been a primary back since his rookie with the Redskins, but he has always been a consistent receiving threat out of the back field, and in my opinion is a very underrated player in terms of his ability to actually run the ball.
Helu got knocked behind Alfred Morris on the depth chart in Washington, so he didn’t get the touches of other backs, but with the 40 rushing attempts he did have, he broke 17 tackles. To put that into perspective, Darren McFadden had 154 rushing attempts and broke 12 tackles. So, Helu may be 3rd on my mock depth chart, but he’s still a better running back than the Week One starter the Raiders had last season.
Helu’s elusive rating also was 108.6. Is that good? Well, Marshawn Lynch scored a 94.3 elusive rating (obviously the dramatic difference in attempts plays into that, but still impressive from Helu.) The elusive rating takes the total number of broken tackles into account, both running plays and in the receiving game. Helu did have 26 total missed tackles on 82 total offensive touches. That’s pretty darn good, averaging over 3 yards after initial contact and averaging 5.4 yards per rushing attempt.
It appears that all the talk of a “fresh start” for Trent Richardson was just a bunch of hype, but if you ask me, that’s just fine. I don’t want Trent Richardson on this team doing what he can’t do, I want him on the team doing what he can do. I’ve brought this up many times, but Trent Richardson is an elite pass blocker. On obvious passing downs, I want a guy like Richardson in there to make sure Derek Carr has that extra half second in the pocket, plus he still has the ability to be a short yardage option on 3rd and short.
OVERALL RB GRADE: B
I think Murray has potential to have a breakout season, and the supporting cast can do great things. Helu and Richardson are essentially two players to equate to one Marcel Reece, and I think a big part of the success of this offense will hinge on how well the coaching staff utilizes one of the best offensive weapons on the team.
Next: Raiders Position Grades: Wide Receiver