The Las Vegas Raiders opted to keep two running backs on the final roster leading up to the 2021 NFL season in Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake.
Given Jacobs’ status as the workhorse in this offense, speculation was already surrounding how Drake would be used. However, it appears they were not done adding potential weapons to the backfield.
The Raiders have since signed running back Peyton Barber to the active roster off the Washington Football Team’s practice squad, via Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk:
According to multiple reports, the Raiders are signing Peyton Barber off Washington’s practice squad.
Barber was part of the final roster cuts for Washington and signed to their practice squad. Although reports indicated that the Silver and Black initially put a claim in for former Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman, the Carolina Panthers beat them to the punch.
Barber spent his first four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers until signing with Washington last year. He finished the 2020 campaign with 258 rushing yards and four while also playing 30 percent of the snaps on special teams.
The 27-year-old has flexed some versatility as a pass-catcher throughout his career with 61 receptions for 361 yards and two touchdowns. This likely made him an intriguing candidate for head coach Jon Gruden to bring in the season opener just over a week away.
Barber will act as an insurance policy in the backfield since there was no actual depth behind Jacobs and Drake. But, of course, it may be difficult for him to find a way to secure touches consistently, barring injury.
Although the Raiders have emphasized revamping their passing game, Gruden’s bread and butter is a traditional ground attack starting with Jacobs. Meanwhile, Drake is set to serve as a change-of-pace option that could potentially line up in the slot as a receiver.