Oakland Raiders: Five Bold Predictions for the 2015-16 Season

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#3Roy Helu Jr.will have the most all-purpose yards amongst players who don’t carry the ball at least 100 times

Nov 30, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington Redskins running back

Roy Helu

Jr. (29) scores a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Helu was brought into the mix at running back during the offseason on a two year/four million dollar deal. After spending the first four years of his career with the Washington Redskins, Helu was brought in to become the team’s third down pass catching back.

As the team’s third down back, Helu will be trusted with being able to receive the ball out of the backfield and turn into a playmaker — or become an extra blocker out of the backfield. One facet of the running back’s game he won’t be trusted with is actually running the ball. With Murray and Richardson already on the roster, those two will be doing most of the ball carrying.

While Helu may not run the ball much, it doesn’t mean he won’t be an influential piece on the Raiders’ roster.

Looking at Helu’s career, the largest amount of carries he had in a single year was his rookie year when he toted the rock 151 times. Since then, he has not topped 100 carries carrying the ball two, 62, and 40 times respectively over the next three years. Looking past his 2012 year — where he only played two games —  and his rookie year when he carried the ball more than 100 times, Helu caught 28 and 55 passes.

Looking even deeper, Helu’s total amount of yards in those two years was had 525 and 693 yards from scrimmage. Yes this is a lot of numbers and most of you wouldn’t like a summary of his career, but the point is, is that Helu can be a role player on offense without carrying the ball.

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  • Around the NFL, many teams have evolved into the idea of the pass catching back. The idea has always been there and has been utilized, but recently, more and more teams seem to be inclined to have a running back specifically for catching the ball. The most notable players are Antone Smith of the Falcons, C.J. Spiller of the Saints, and Darren Sproles of the Eagles. None of them are expected to carry the load in terms of rushing, but all of them will be able to make some noise catching the ball.

    So how can Helu outplay all of them? This may start to sound to get repetitive, but it’s opportunity. Carr will be spreading the ball around this year, with many mouths to feed while still handing the ball off to Murray and Richardson. It may seem like Helu is out of the picture. But, Cooper or Walford can’t get every target, and all of Murray’s runs won’t go for first down. Carr will be checking down quite often and with the rock in his hands, Helu can make a difference.

    Statistically, Helu’s yard per catch average is pretty solid sitting at 8.9 for his career. His 11.4 yards per catch average was the best among all running backs in the NFL. It is evident that once Helu catches the ball he knows how to gain yards after the catch.

    Physically, Helu isn’t the biggest at just 5’1″, but with 4.22 wheels, he is a shifty back who uses his speed to his advantage. Being light on your feet and having elite speed is a must for pass catching backs.

    Helu is in a perfect spot to show off just what pass catchers can do. He will not only prove you can be useful without running the ball, but he will be the best at it.

    Next: The New Quarterback King of the AFC West