Oakland Raiders Top 5: Early Training Camp Battles
By Austin Gayle
May 19, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Trent Richardson (33) at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Dyer vs. Trent Richardson/George Atkinson
The Raiders believe they have found their starting running back for the 2015 season in Latavius Murray, but the depth at the position still has questions to be answered.
Former Washington running back Roy Helu Jr. was added as a free agent earlier this offseason to serve as primarily a third down back, but the uncertainty within the Raiders’ backfield just may propel into the No. 2 spot behind Murray.
The other free agent running back Oakland added this offseason (a primary reason for the uncertainty) is former third overall pick Trent Richardson.
Richardson has had a relatively unsuccessful start to his career in Oakland, as he has been placed on the non-football-illness list to start training camp due to reportedly showing up to camp overweight.
According to Ian Rapoport, National Insider for NFL Network, Richardson has about a 50% chance of even making the roster.
As for former 2014 Undrafted Free Agent George Atkinson III, his days seemed to be numbered in Oakland, for a rookie UDFA is currently taking all of the spotlight during training camp.
Shortly after the 2015 NFL draft the Oakland Raiders signed Former University of Louisville running back Michael Dyer as an UDFA.
Dyer is most commonly recognized as the heavily talented back that ran alongside Cam Newton when Auburn won the BCS National Championship game in 2011, as he ran for 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns in that season. His draft stock was on a steady incline after rushing for over 1,000 yards in both his freshman and sophomore season with Auburn, but his off-the-field issues then began to impact his ability on the field.
Due to Dyer’s poor character outside of football, he ultimately was forced to miss the entire 2012 season and restart his college career at the University of Louisville. Dyer unfortunately couldn’t seem to find the magic he had in Auburn, as he accumulated just 704 yards and seven touchdowns in his two years at Louisville.
Despite some rare flashes in his senior season, Dyer struggled to perform as a Cardinal, but he seems to have found new life with the Silver and Black.
Dyer has managed to impress multiple analysts early on during training camp, as Silver and Black Report lead writer Chris McClain even highlighted a specific play he excelled in earlier this week.
“Rookie running back Michael Dyer has continued to impress me this offseason, not just training camp,” McClain reported. “The young back broke off another nice gain on Monday with the third-team offensive line breaking him free.”
Due to Dyer entering the 2015 season an UDFA rookie, it is difficult to say that he will earn a significant role behind Murray and Helu Jr., but he is the likely favorite given how training camp has begun.
Next: Camp Battles: Austin Howard vs. Menelik Watson