The Oakland Raiders opened up their 2019 preseason campaign in winning fashion on Saturday night, and UDFA rookie fullback Alec Ingold turned heads.
The Oakland Raiders defeated the Los Angeles Rams in the first preseason game of 2019 14-3, and while the defense was definitely a bright spot for the team, holding the Rams to 190 total yards, a player that stood out to me was rookie undrafted free agent fullback Alec Ingold.
Ingold, who hails from the University of Wisconsin, a school known for standout fullbacks like Cecil Martin and Derek Watt, is a throwback player who was cut from the same cloth of Raiders greats Jon Ritchie, Zack Crockett and Marcel Reece.
On Saturday night, he was instrumental in the run game by clearing the way for running backs James Butler and DeAndre Washington, while also proving to be a valuable asset in the passing game. He set up key blocks in protecting Nathan Peterman and Mike Glennon, while also recording four receptions for 22 yards. Ingold earned the starting position when starter Keith Smith went down in OTA’s with a knee injury and with his strong performance in practice, and in the first preseason game, should earn the starting role permanently
The Raiders have a loaded running back room, and there is no way that Jon Gruden keeps two fullbacks. After seeing Ingold play, expect the team to release veteran Keith Smith, clearing up a roster spot that they can use to bolster an extremely depleted offensive line. Starting right guard Gabe Jackson is going to be out for a while, and left guard Richie Incognito is suspended for the first two games of the season.
Ingold possesses the prototypical skills of solid pass and run blocking, but also harbors the extra attributes that Gruden loves, as he is the definition of a Gruden grinder. He plays hard-nosed, smash-mouth football, can run the ball well and catch coming out of the backfield. On a team that is notorious for having star fullbacks who were not only great blockers, but also strong ball handlers, Ingold adds another wrinkle to the offense that will provide options for Derek Carr.
Overall, there were a couple of players who really stood out on Saturday night, but in Ingold, Gruden has the perfect fullback for his offense. It is very early in the summer, but you have to believe he did enough to at least start the conversation of a change at fullback in 2019.