I threw a last-round pick at Jalen Richard yesterday in a draft. It was 260 picks in, and I wanted another PPR option at running back. The Raiders made some remarks earlier this offseason at using Josh Jacobs more in the passing game this year, but actions speak louder than words.
The team let DeAndre Washington go in free agency, but everything else they did this offseason suggests using another running back in obvious passing situations. They signed Richard to a 2-year, $7 million extension back in February, indicating they expect him to be part of the offense. They drafted Lynn Bowden in the third round, and announced him as a running back. They talked to LeSean McCoy before signing Devontae Booker, another back used primarily in passing situations. No one should be counting on Jacobs being the back of choice on third downs.
Richard's a lot better than Booker, and until they get Bowden up to speed -- which will be more difficult than usual with rookies this year -- Richard should be the main guy. It's an offense that uses its running backs a lot as receivers.
Last year, Raider running backs averaged 52 receiving yards per game. That was 6th in the league. Richard and Washington each accounted for 10 percent of the team's receptions. That's something 29 other running backs did last year; just five teams had two backs with at least 10 percent. Until they get Bowden coached up, it should be primarily Richard.
|RUNNING BACK RECEIVING, PERCENT OF TEAM (2019)|
|Christian McCaffrey, Car.||116||1,005||4||30%||24%||24%|
|Austin Ekeler, LAC||92||993||8||23%||21%||33%|
|Tarik Cohen, Chi.||79||456||3||21%||13%||15%|
|Leonard Fournette, Jac.||76||522||0||21%||13%||0%|
|LeVeon Bell, NYJ||66||461||1||20%||13%||5%|
|Alvin Kamara, N.O.||81||533||1||19%||12%||3%|
|James White, N.E.||72||645||5||19%||16%||20%|
|Dalvin Cook, Min.||53||519||0||17%||14%||0%|
|Jaylen Samuels, Pitt.||47||305||1||15%||9%||6%|
|Nyheim Hines, Ind.||44||320||0||14%||10%||0%|
|Chris Thompson, Was.||42||378||0||14%||12%||0%|
|Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.||54||420||2||14%||9%||7%|
|Saquon Barkley, NYG||52||438||2||14%||11%||7%|
|Royce Freeman, Den.||43||256||1||14%||8%||6%|
|Aaron Jones, G.B.||49||474||3||14%||12%||12%|
|Devonta Freeman, Atl.||59||410||4||13%||8%||14%|
|Miles Sanders, Phil.||50||509||3||13%||13%||11%|
|Duke Johnson, Hou.||44||410||3||12%||10%||11%|
|Kareem Hunt, Cle.||37||285||1||12%||7%||5%|
|Nick Chubb, Cle.||36||278||0||11%||7%||0%|
|Phillip Lindsay, Den.||35||196||0||11%||6%||0%|
|Jamaal Williams, G.B.||39||253||5||11%||6%||19%|
|Chris Carson, Sea.||37||266||2||11%||6%||6%|
|James Conner, Pitt.||34||251||3||11%||8%||17%|
|Melvin Gordon, LAC||42||296||1||11%||6%||4%|
|David Johnson, Ariz.||36||370||4||10%||10%||20%|
|J.D. McKissic, Det.||34||233||1||10%||6%||4%|
|Joe Mixon, Cin.||35||287||3||10%||7%||17%|
|Jalen Richard, Oak.||36||323||0||10%||8%||0%|
|DeAndre Washington, Oak.||36||292||0||10%||7%||0%|
|Devin Singletary, Buff.||29||194||2||10%||6%||10%|
This isn't to suggest Richard should be a coveted target in drafts. Clearly, he isn't. But as last-round picks go, he's worth a selection on the thought that maybe he'll get his share and a good chunk of what was DeAndre Washington's share. The idea that Jacobs is going to get more work as a receiver -- that's just talk that the team's offseason moves don't really support.