Oakland Raiders: Ranking The AFC West By Position Group – Running Backs

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24: Running back Jalen Richard
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24: Running back Jalen Richard /
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Oakland Raiders
DENVER, CO – JANUARY 1: Running back Devontae Booker /

Denver Broncos

The Broncos get the nod – albeit, a very slight nod – over the Chargers in the division rankings only because they have a bit more talent in the backfield than Los Angeles does. The trouble with the Broncos – who had the league’s twenty-seventh ranked run game – is that they haven’t fully utilized it.

The Broncos have the potential to field a decent ground attack behind Devontae Booker and C.J. Anderson. And this season, with the addition of Kansas City castoff Jamaal Charles, that potential is even greater. Perhaps. It’s all going to depend on what they can get out of Charles after suffering the injuries he has the last few years.

If they can somehow get vintage Charles – certainly no guarantee after his ACL and meniscus surgeries – the Broncos might have a pretty potent ground game. But if they don’t, and they get a Charles closer to the version who’s missed much of the last couple of years with injury, Denver will be in the same boat they were last season.

The Broncos tried that formula last year, picking up a running back many thought was beyond his prime in Justin Forsett. The experiment didn’t really work out all that well as they didn’t get a whole lot out of Forsett in the four games he wore the orange and blue. They are, quite obviously, hoping for a better return on investment out of Charles.

It’s a risky gamble, given his recent injury history, but one that could pay off fairly handsomely for the Broncos if it works out.

But a lot of the success on the ground is going to depend upon the help up front. And a few small tweaks aside, the Broncos will be running out the same unit that gave up 40 sacks, but also only helped average a paltry 3.6 yards per carry on the season.

Given the uncertainty up front, as well as in the backfield, the Broncos’ running game can’t really be counted on to make a lot of noise in 2017.