The Raiders have Latavius Murray, Trent Richardson and Roy Helu penciled in as their running backs going into spring workouts and summer training camp, but they’ve also just added a wild card into the mix: former Auburn standout Michael Dyer.
Dyer, who is just 5-foot-8 but weighs 218 pounds, had two 1,000-yard seasons at Auburn before off-the-field issues forced him out of the program. He then transferred to Arkansas State, Arkansas Baptist and Lousiville, where he also had issues.
He went to the NFL Combine in February, however, and proved he’s in excellent shape. He ran a 4.58 40-yard time (11th fastest among all running back eligible for the recent draft) and powered through 26 repetitions on the bench press (first among all running backs). He's a short but powerful runner.
He went undrafted, but has been signed by the Raiders after a tryout with the team last week, according to Bill Williamson of ESN.com.
“Dyer is an interesting player, but there are plenty of red flags and off-field issues,” wrote Williamson. “Dyer was a key figure on Auburn’s 2010 national championship team. But he played at two schools after that and he had trouble at each school.”
According to a report by Joel A. Erickson of the Alabama Media Group, Dyer’s transgressions include use of marijuana, unlawful possession of a gun, traffic issues and academic problems.
In addition, Dyer already is 24.
But in college, Dyer was a talented back. As Erickson wrote, “He’s strong, runs with balance and rarely fumbles.”
Dyer didn’t play at either Arkansas State or Arkansas Baptist, sitting out the 2012 season. He played in 2013 and 2014 at Louisville. As a senior he carried 110 times for 481 yards and five TDs.
At this point, Dyer would seem to be a long shot to make the roster. But should Richardson falter or an injury pop up, a strong preseason performance could give him a chance.
“I want a chance to show people my character is better than it was in the past,” Dyer said after landing at Louisville. “I want to clear my name. I understand the reasons I am in this situation. I placed myself there, I take responsibility.”