With free agency about six weeks away, it’s time to check in on the Raiders’ running back position to give it a condition of either Strong, Stable, Unstable, Serious, or Critical.
Starters: Josh Jacobs, Alec Ingold (FB)
Backups: Jalen Richard
Free agents: Devontae Booker, Theo Riddick
Jacobs made his first Pro Bowl despite having a down season compared to his rookie year. His yards per carry dropped nearly a full yard from 4.8 as a rookie to 3.9 this past season. Leading to fewer total yards (1065) than his rookie season (1050) despite appearing in two more games (15). He did, however, see his touchdowns jump from seven to 12 last season and his receptions and receiving yards improve slightly as well.
Ingold continues to prove he is one of the better fullbacks in the league. He also shows good hands out of the backfield.
Booker was a serviceable backup, averaging 4.5 yards per carry for a total of 423 yards and three touchdowns.
Richard was a forgotten man in the Raiders’ offense and with his salary, he could be a ‘cap casualty’.
Jacobs is the unquestioned starter for this team. And they could probably bring back Booker if they wanted to. But what they need is a bruiser, short-yardage back. An ideal backfield would be one like the Packers with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Or Kansas City with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell. Or Tampa with Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette. Or really like any ‘Thunder and Lightning’ backfield Gruden had in his years in Oakland and Tampa.
Regardless of ideal or not, other than Jacobs, there is uncertainty at the running back position. They have to make a decision about Richard and probably think about bringing in a back both in free agency and the draft to battle for snaps behind Jacobs.