The Las Vegas Raiders could be getting Jalen Richard back soon, so what does that mean for the roster and depth at running back going forward.
The return of running back Josh Jacobs is the biggest news for the Las Vegas Raiders running back corp this week, but the return of Jalen Richard is also imminent. Richard has been out nearly two months with a foot injury suffered in training camp, but when he has been healthy, he has been a big part of this Raiders offense.
Richard’s return is impactful for several reasons. First, Richard is a very good third-down running back. Richard has brought juice and consistency to the Raiders backfield, whether through the air or on the ground since being undrafted in 2016.
Richard recorded 68 receptions for 607 yards during the 2018 offensively challenged season with the Raiders. Richard not only became a fan favorite but also a staff favorite because of his work ethic and ability to play his role at a high level.
He is also a noted locker room favorite, which is significant because the Raiders opted to keep him despite having the opportunity to save $3.5 million after signing Kenyan Drake.
What do the Raiders do when Richard returns?
Drake will likely continue to receive a lot of targets in the passing game, but after getting benched during the week 3 match against Miami, Richard figures to have a role on this offense. The biggest reason Richard will see the field plenty is for his pass blocking. Richard is great at picking up blitzes and understands where to be on 3rd downs.
He also has the trust of Derek Carr whereas Drake may have lost some after missing some assignments this week.
The group of Jacobs, Drake, Richard, and Peyton Barber is arguably the best in the NFL. While Barber will likely be phased out with the return of Jacobs, Richard only makes this offense even more explosive.
The Las Vegas Raiders survived another overtime with a 31-28 win over the Miami Dolphins, bringing their record to 3-0 on the season.
At 27, Richard is still explosive and important to Gruden’s offense, one that loves to deploy a 3rd down back. Not to mention, he is also the team’s kick returner and will take his job back from Henry Ruggs. Richard’s return opens more doors for the Raiders and can take this offense to another level.