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
Let it be known that I am including Marcel Reece into this group and I am officially killing the label of “fullback” for this team. I believe the Raiders are going to carry five running backs into the season Murray, Richardson, Dyer, Reece, and Helu. Each running back has a distinct skill set which to me makes me think the Raiders will have a committee backfield. Murray is likely to get the bulk of the carries, but the Raiders will be cautious when it comes to his usage. He has already had a concussion and his playing career has been riddled with nagging injuries. Murray is by far the most explosive back on the team, but he is not the perfect back.
Although Richardson had some bad news floating around him at the beginning of camp, since he returned from his battle with pneumonia he has been impressing coaches. I may be a bit of an outside thinker, but not even I am taking Richardson to make a huge comeback. However, I could see Richardson with his solid hands ending the season with 800 or more combined yards. Richardson and Reece will likely take turns as the short yardage back, but Reece will see most of his time as a “H-Back” type. He has lost weight coming into this camp and I imagine him being used primarily as a specialty mismatch player.
Although Richardson and Reece both have decent hands, Helu is slated to be the designated third down back. He has proven himself to be a very solid route runner, pass blocker, and competent runner. This was one of those sneaky pickups that Reggie McKenzie made that can drastically help this offense. For the first season in some years, the Raiders have legitimate depth at the running back position and are not overly reliant on one player. Dyer is the final piece to this group.
This undrafted free agent came from Auburn’s national title team and after several falls from grace, he was added to this roster. Young and hungry defines him best, and that is exactly what the Raiders need. A talented player who can push the rest of the position group to ensure they do not take it easy. On the whole, if this group can rush for 2000 yards and catch for another 1000, the Raiders should be well on their way to a successful season.
Next: Preseason Primer: Tight Ends