Nov 30, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington Redskins running back Roy Helu Jr. (29) reacts to scoring a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
3. Roy Helu Jr.
Former Washington running back Roy Helu Jr. has primarily been a quality backup throughout his four-year career after being drafted in the fourth round out of the University of Nebraska in 2011. The former Cornhusker expressed his excitement for free agency early in the offseason, and now that he his in Oakland he is in a position for a big year in 2015.
Helu Jr. signed a two-year, $4.1 million contract with Oakland eary in free agency.
In 2014 Helu Jr. received just 40 carries in 14 games, but he was able to put up a total of 216 yards and one touchdown with an average of 5.4 yards a carry. He also had a career year in the passing game as he brought in 42 receptions on just 47 targets for 477 yards and two touchdowns.
In four seasons Helu Jr. has earned a total of 1,132 yards and seven touchdowns on 255 carries. He also has 129 catches for 1,152 yards and three touchdowns.
Although the 26 year-old back has received a bulk of his snaps on third-down in the past, newly acquired head coach Jack Del Rio would welcome the idea of Helu Jr. expanding his role in 2015.
“Roy is a good solid backup running back. He played a third-down role in Washington and a little bit on special teams, and so we see him being able to come in and compete in our backfield,” Del Rio told Mike Jones of the Washington Post. “If he creates a bigger role than that, then good for him. But we know that we’re getting a young man that’s capable of that. He did grow up in the area and he’s excited to be back and be able to have the silver and black on, and we’re excited to have him.”
The Danville, California is ready to take on the challenge of climbing up the depth charts in Oakland as he currently sits behind projected starter Latavius Murray and former Indianapolis Colt Trent Richardson.
“This is the most excited I’ve been to play football in the NFL this far,” Helu Jr. told Rebecca Corman of Oakland Raiders.com.
The Oakland Raiders have not found the “answer” at the running back position, and, as a result, the competition at the running back position is ongoing as the offseason progresses.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave touched on the competition and depth at the running back position after the final practice of Mandatory Mini-Camp.
“I think all of our groups are going to have good competition,” Musgrave told Corman. “They really are. We have good depth at the running back position.”
The competition should lead to a heightened level of talent coming out of the Raiders’ backfield, and there is no reason that the experienced Helu Jr. cannot turn an increased amount of touches in 2015 into a career year for the silver and black.
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