Latavius Murray is a big loss the Raiders can replace easily

The Oakland Raiders have finally lost a player of some import in free agency with Latavius Murray signing with the Minnesota Vikings. Up to this point, the best players lost in free agency were Stacy McGee and Brynden Trawick, a rotational defensive lineman and a special teams stud.

But with Murray, the Raiders lose their leading rusher of the past two seasons and a two time Pro Bowler.

Though his 2015 season was somewhat difficult to watch, he showed a ton of improvement in 2016. He learned to lower his shoulder and break tackles, but his vision is still lacking and he still can’t make people miss in the open field.

Because of the flaws in his game, Murray is both a big loss for the Raiders and one they can easily replace.

Murray was a major part of the offense last season but most of his touches will be accounted for by players already on the team. Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington will end up carrying the lion’s share of the load in 2017. Both really impressed the Raiders in their rookie season and will do a good job as the primary backs next year.

But the Raiders will still need to bring another back to compliment those two.

While many, myself included, are very excited to see what Richard and Washington will be able to accomplish with more touches, there is justifiably concern about the similarity of their styles. The Raiders basically have two of the same back on the roster, both undersized backs who are great pass catchers and can also do a good job of reading blocks and picking their way through the line of scrimmage.

But when it comes to short yardage situations, neither Richard nor Washington has the mass to be effective. Last season, Murray was the short yardage back and he did fairly well, completing 65% of his short yardage opportunities (downs with 2 or fewer yards to go) and tallied 12 touchdowns.

So while Murray was the lead back in 2016, that’s not what the Raiders need to bring in to replace him in 2017. Richard and Washington will be the lead backs and my best guess is that the Raiders will draft another back to compliment them sometime in the fourth round or later of the NFL Draft. The result being a well rounded backfield at a much cheaper price than it would have costed to bring Murray back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: