Five Late Round Prospects Oakland Raiders Should Target

Oct 25, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fans cheer during the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fans cheer during the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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Keith Marshall
Nov 28, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Keith Marshall (4) runs against Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Jamal Golden (4) during the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Georgia defeated Georgia Tech 13-7. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Keith Marshall, Running Back, Georgia

Unbeknownst to many, Latavius Murray actually finished sixth in the NFL and second in the AFC with 1,066 yards rushing. Regardless, Reggie McKenzie has not shied away from his affinity to add another rusher to the backfield.

"“We had some injuries there, both backups Helu and Taiwan were injured. We need some healthy bodies back there to help out. The way this league is with the pounding you’re taking, you can’t just have one guy getting beat up all year with no help. We’ll get some help. We’ll get healthy. We’ll see how it goes” – Reggie McKenzie on the Raiders’ running back situation."

McKenzie is right, Murray did take a beating last year. He took 72% of all the team’s carries, 266 overall. Those 266 carries put him at third in the NFL behind only the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson and the Buccaneers’ Doug Martin.

Adding another back to pair with Murray could help his longevity and production as a rusher. If he isn’t forced to take every carry he is more likely to stay healthy and with less beating may be able to perform better on a week-to-week basis.

Many fans have been hoping that former Ohio State runner Ezekiel Elliot falls into the Black Hole that is Raider Nation. The scenario of Ezekiel Elliot falling to 14 seems more and more unlikely by the day. But even if he did, he wouldn’t necessarily be the best fit for the team.

Elliot is far and away the best running back in this class. He is a three down back and barring an injury should be an offensive stud for whichever team selects him. He will likely be the team’s leading rusher come the end of the season.

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The Raiders already have their bell cow in Murray. He is one of the better running backs in the league. Paring Elliot with Murray could be deadly but neither of them would be able to play to their potential. The Raiders are better off adding a complementary piece to Murray in the later rounds while focusing on a more dire need in the earlier rounds.

The complementary piece the Raiders should be looking at is former Georgia rusher Keith Marshall.

Marshall led all players at the NFL combine with a 4.31 40 yard dash. His time is tied for seventh highest since 2009. Marshall also finished fourth among all running backs with 25 reps on the bench press. Cearly Marshall’s speed and strength prove he is an athletic specimen.

Marshall was actually the fifth overall prospect in the 2012 recruiting class. He was heralded over many top ten selections in the 2015 NFL draft including Jameis Winston (first overall), Leonard Williams (sixth overall), and the aforementioned Cooper (fourth overall).

Marshall played up to his pedigree in his freshman year, rushing 117 times for 759 yards and eight touchdowns. He also caught 11 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. Marshall had the makings of a great college running back.

Those plans were derailed in 2013 as he tore his ACL. He only saw 56 carries in 2013 with only 12 in 2014 due to complications from his ACL injury.

In 2014, when he was ready to play, he was stuck behind Pro Bowl rusher Todd Gurley. Gurley injured his ankle in a game against Tennessee where Marshall was given a chance to play. But when Marshall got in the game he ended up injuring his knee himself. Marshall only saw 68 carries in 2015 due to injuries and being stuck on the depth chart.

The Raiders should take a chance on Marshall based off of athleticism alone. You can always teach a prospect various schemes but you cannot teach a prospect athletic ability.

The Raiders would be taking a chance on Marshall staying healthy, but if so he can become a lightning bolt on offense. He would be a great complementary pick to Murray and could provide a big play at some point during the season.

Marshall is currently projected to be a sixth round pick, but with his athleticism he could end up being a draft day steal. There is irony in drafting an oft injured running back to solve your running back woes but assuming he stays healthy Marshall would be a great fit at backup running back for the Raiders.

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