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The Darren McFadden era is officially over in Oakland. The highly-paid, highly-touted running back was the Raiders’ primary ball carrier when healthy over the past seven seasons. He was allowed to leave in free agency with three straight seasons averaging roughly 3.3 yards per carry.
The Raiders hope 2013 sixth-round pick Latavius Murray can become a bell cow, and that Trent Richardson can resurrect his career in Oakland. Those desires are far from guaranteed.
Roy Helu Jr. is a quality change of pace back, and should be extremely active in coordinator Bill Musgrave’s offense. Pro Bowl fullback Marel Reece’s role hasn’t been defined publicly, though it’s believed that Musgrave won’t use a traditional fullback.
The Raiders have a decent stable of backs, but could certainly add to that total in a draft rich with rushing talent. They have more pressing needs, but it wouldn’t be shocking if they added to their numbers. Murray may turn out to have been a real find in the sixth round. They could try and strike twice in the later portions of this draft.
Who’s here: Latavius Murray, Trent Richardson, Roy Helu Jr., Marcel Reece, Jamize Olawale, George Atkinson III, Terrance Cobb
Draft needs: The Raiders want to run well with power. Musgrave has a long track record of producing solid rushing totals. He typically sticks with a feature back, but depth couldn’t hurt without proven commodities. The Raiders could certainly add competition as the draft wears on.
Good fits: Florida power back Matt Jones may be a good fit for this scheme. He’s 6-foot-2 and 231 pounds, and could be a strong presence between the tackles. He’s projected to be a fifth-round or sixth-round pick. He might present great value in the draft. USC’s Buck Allen could be a solid contributor if he falls to the fourth round. He’s shifty, powerful and tough on opposing defenses. Karlos Williams is another powerful playmaker who could contribute right away on special teams and be another short-yardage option if Richardson doesn’t work out. He’s thought to be a fifth-round pick. Trey Williams from Texas A&M is a speedster who would be a late-round option. He has experience as a kick returner and could help in that area.