RAIDERS 2021 Camp Preview

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) and running back Josh Jacobs (28) (Photo by Michael Clemens/Las Vegas Raiders)

Running backs

Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson has the Raiders RBs room loaded and ready to improve the running game with an OL that has a lot of changes.

There is now another running back behind Josh Jacobs that must deliver better results in the Raiders running department than the ones expected in Devonta Booker. From 2016 through 2020 Drake has 3,130 rushing yards versus 1,526 from Booker, Drake also has 300 more receiving yards in that same span.

With the the departure of coach Kirby Wilson (Raiders RBs Coach), he left a great legacy in Josh Jacobs while also developing Jalen Richard and Alec Ingold.

It seems clear that the offense is going to get faster, as Derek Carr’s attributes can match perfectly to achieve the objective even though he is not a dual-threat quarterback. The depth and the talent of the Raiders make this unit one of the most solid and versatile running back groups in the league.

As we enter into discussion, let’s break in the Raiders RBs.

2021 Raiders RBs

Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) (Photo by Michael Clemens/Las Vegas Raiders)

Josh Jacobs
Jersey: 28
College: Alabama
NFL Season: 3

Josh Jacobs’s running style looks so smooth, it looks like he has calmed his rookie anxiety and learned the patience needed for the gaps to open. Of course, the Raiders passing game could benefit more from Jacobs’ elusiveness, but for now, it looks like the plan for one of the multiple 2019 first-round picks for the Raiders is clear, keep running the ball.

Jacobs can be productive splitting the ball; he showed exactly that during his college career under Coach Nick Saban with teammates like Damien Harris, Bo Scarborough, and Najee Harris.

Now with a new season right away as the leader in the Raiders RBs group, a revamped OL, a new teammate ex-Bama RB brought in by (mostly) his catching skills, and a HC that can get creative in the run game and get the most productive first-round pick for the Raiders in the last years could continue racking up more than a thousand yards again next season. Jacobs became the first rusher in franchise history to have back-to-back seasons with at least 1,000 rushing yards to start his career.

Las Vegas Raiders running back Kenyan Drake (23) (Photo by Michael Clemens/Las Vegas Raiders)

Kenyan Drake
Jersey: 23
College: Alabama
NFL Season: 6

Kenyan Drake arrives to Las Vegas earning money as a starter, his 2 year/$11,000,000.00 contract also carries the kind of versatility that the offense needs. With his first year with the Silver and Black obviously, he will not be the workhorse of the group but his role on the offense will be interesting.

His 10 rushing touchdowns were the result of an explosive offense that the only player with more TDs in Arizona was Kyler Murray with 11, the first time in franchise history the Cardinals have multiple players with 10+ rushing TDs in a season. Drake finished the rushing for 955 yards, the most he has run playing in the NFL.

With the retirement of Coach Kirby Wilson, Tim Berbenich will now be the RBs coach and the task for him with Drake is tuning him the correct way so he continues as one of the most productive backs in the NFL. It shouldn’t be a difficult task if we take into consideration that Drake won’t have that RB1 role and that he can do a lot of damage running and catching the ball.

Las Vegas Raiders running back Jalen Richard (30) and linebacker Cory Littleton (42) (Photo by Matt Aguirre/Las Vegas Raiders)

Jalen Richard
Jersey: 30
College: Southern Miss
NFL Season: 6

Richard is another versatile tool in the Raiders RBs group, and if you want to get faster as Coach Gruden said back in June, you need to keep versatile guys on the team.

Jalen Richard’s continuality in the organization since arriving via UDFA back in 2016 has been the key. He is the first undrafted Raiders running back to record a receiving TD in each of his first two seasons and in his first carry in the league he made a 75 amazing TD at NO.

His offensive snaps may be more limited with the addition of Drake, but he can still contribute in special teams returning kickoffs; the punt returner job belongs to Hunter Renfrow.

His continuity has been around, making the trade of Lynn Bowden Jr. was a no-brainer when you have a real RB for any eventuality. Richard may not have the skillset of Bowden Jr. but now, Richard is in training camp, and Bowden made no difference on the Dolphins first practice with pads (https://atbnetwork.com/2021/08/03/miami-dolphins-training-camp-recap-day-6/)

Las Vegas Raiders running back Trey Ragas (36) (Photo by Michael Clemens/Las Vegas Raiders)

Trey Ragas
Jersey: 36
College: Louisiana
NFL Season: 1

Trey Ragas has different skills than the previous RBs listed, he likes to make contact and his running style is also kind of different, he will need to learn how to read and run behind an NFL offensive line before he shows his (for now) limited receiving skills.

His lower back strength helped him a lot in college to rush for 3,572 yards on 596 carries (6.0 avg), he also broke a lot of tackles in every level of the field, and if we see some action of the UDFA, it may be as a power back.

With the Ragin’ Cajuns had a terrific game against No. 1 Alabama (10/29) rushing for 111 yards on just 16 attempts.

Las Vegas Raiders running back Garret Groshek (46) (Photo by Matt Aguirre/Las Vegas Raiders)

Garret Groshek
Jersey: 46
College: Wisconsin
NFL Season: 1

Groshek is another UDFA in the Raiders RBs this year. He played four years at Wisconsin, playing in 47 career games with two starts, he can fill be the backup role for Ingold.

Las Vegas Raiders fullback Alec Ingold (45) (Photo by Matt Aguirre/Las Vegas Raiders)

Alec Ingold
Jersey: 45
College: Wisconsin
NFL Season: 3

The only FB in the Raiders roster, and they are just fine with it He is that kind of all-around security blanket for the team.

Since arriving the team via UDFA in 2019, Ingold was named the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in 2020, was named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2019 (the same year where he was coached by the Raiders’ staff on the North team of the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl).

Ingold is not your average fullback that adds the numerical advantage of an extra blocker, according to PFF, he is ranked as the third-best fullback in the league. His participation in running snaps, passing snaps, and special teams makes him another reliable asset on Gruden’s offense. Also, he registered the first Raiders’ TD in Allegiant Stadium when they faced the Saints (W2-MNF).

Side notes, for whatever it’s worth:

Raiders RBs Coach was not the only who retired; the list extended to RB Theo Riddick, LB James Onwualu & T Sam Young.

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