The Raiders’ rushing attack didn’t exactly strike fear into opponents in 2018. Oakland ranked 25th in the NFL, averaging just 101.8 yards per game.
Top running back Marshawn Lynch was lost to injury just six games into the season, and veteran Doug Martin led the team in rushing with just 723 yards.
Yet the picture looks brighter for 2019.
The addition of first-round pick Josh Jacobs and the return of Chris Warren (lost to injury before the regular season in 2018) give the Raiders a stable of backs that also includes Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.
In its preseason evaluation of running back groups across the NFL, SBNation ranks Oakland 17th now, in the middle of the pack. It’s a group with varied talent: Jacobs as a possible durable and versatile lead back, Richard as a terrific receiver out of the backfield, Washington as a change-of-pace special weapon, Martin as the veteran and Warren as a punishing tackle-breaking option.
General manager Mike Mayock believes Jacobs can be a three-down back who could be even more productive than he was at Alabama.
And, if the offensive line (with the additions of Trent Brown and Richie Incognito) blocks better and more consistently in the run game, Oakland could suddenly have a much stronger running game.
Wrote Tyler J. Smith of the website Silver and Black Pride: "When you look at the other running back groups, this one compares favorably, particularly if Chris Warren steps up and seizes a role in the rotation. Josh Jacobs has a ton of potential as a feature back and Doug Martin has a fairly high floor in the Raiders’ system."