Oakland Raiders: Offseason Winners and Losers
By Justin Smith
Latavius Murray, RB
Murray became the Raiders first 1,000 yard back since Darren McFadden in 2010, but it never really felt like a 1,000 yard performance. The Raiders overall run game was abysmal, ranking 29th in the league, as nobody beyond Murray ran effectively and he carried the majority of the load.
Murray showed he wears down fairly easily if the load is all on him – and as Carr was second leading rusher with 155 yards, the load was definitely all on him. The Raiders needed depth to spell Murray and keep him fresh. After Murray’s performance underwhelmed – particularly in the fourth quarter, when his yards per carry average dropped to 2.2 – it appeared the Raiders may try a committee approach.
Expected to draft a highly-rated back early to help relieve and possibly challenge Murray, the Raiders instead stayed patient and used a 5th round to pick Washington. At 5’8, 205 pds, he relies on speed and elusiveness and is an excellent pass catcher. The kid is about as easy to catch as Bigfoot and makes his pursuers look as foolish, as attested by Pro Football Focus’ 3rd highest elusive rating in all of BCS and Washington’s ability to force a missed tackle on almost a quarter (67 of 271, 24.7%) of his runs last season.
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He was clearly drafted as a change-of-pace back to compliment Murray rather than spell or supplant him as the bell cow in the Raiders’ backfield. With the re-signing of Penn and addition of Osemele, and Washington’s skill set, Murray should have one more chance to fulfill expectations as the main man.
Next: Raiders Offseason Review: Winners