The Raiders selected Josh Jacobs in the first round of this year’s draft, and the former Alabama standout figures to be the team’s No. 1 running back in 2019.
But that doesn’t mean Jalen Richard won’t have a place in the backfield.
The former undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi has been a dynamic playmaker for the Raiders in his three seasons as a ball carrier, receiver and punt/kick returner.
Richard especially has been terrific as a target for Derek Carr out of the backfield, and set a career high in 2018 with 68 catches for 607 yards. Overall, he gained 866 yards from scrimmage last season and averaged 7.0 yards every time he touched the ball on offense.
So, Jon Gruden will have a place for him in the Raiders offense this coming season, even if Jacobs gets most of the carries.
Still, Richard takes nothing for granted. Many major colleges didn’t pursue him because he had a knee injury in high school. Then he went undrafted but opened eyes on the Raiders during a three-day tryout. So, he’s had to earn everything he has. After completing his first pro contract, a three-year deal, he’s playing on a one-year deal worth as much as $3.09 million in 2019.
As he prepares for the start of training camp in late July, Richard is eager to keep producing.
"I’ve been blessed, man," he told a TV reporter in Louisiana this week. "I wake up every day and it’s like a dream. I’m just trying to continue to work hard and prove to myself I’m not taking any of it for granted."