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
SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 27: Running back Marshawn Lynch /

Oakland Raiders

Last season, the Raiders had the best ground game in the division – by far. Their running backs group was head and shoulders above everybody in the AFC West. And given that they posted the sixth best ground game in the entire NFL, they were better than most.

Led by Latavius Murray, the Raiders, behind one of – if not the – best offensive line in the NFL rumbled for 1,922 yards and 17 touchdowns with an average of 4.4 yards per carry. The running game perfectly complemented the passing game, giving the Raiders one of the most balanced and lethal offenses in the league.

The question now though becomes – will letting Murray walk as a free agent and adding Marshawn Lynch to the backfield turn out to be a boon or a bust?

There is no denying that Lynch has looked good through the offseason so far. He looks fit, powerful, and motivated to do terrible things to opposing defenses. But looking sharp in OTA’s is one thing – staying sharp when the pads go on and the hitting gets real is something else entirely.

If the Raiders get vintage Lynch, this offense becomes a dominant force. Lynch adds power and a physicality that not even Murray, as big as he was, provided.

But let’s also not forget that Lynch is a running back on the wrong side of thirty. One who is coming off a year away from the game – and two years removed from having a season that can only be described as disastrous.

Lynch could help take this offense to another level entirely – provided he can return to Beast Mode form.

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Aside from Lynch, the Raiders also have some fantastic change of pace backs in Richard, Washington, and now rookie Elijah Hood. They also have some power in the form of Jamize Olawale. But the key to this Oakland ground game is going to be Lynch.

If Lynch can stay healthy and productive – and combined with that line and the talents of Richard and Washington – Oakland’s offense is going to be unstoppable. Their running game will once again reign supreme in the AFC West, and might just dominate the AFC as a whole.

But, there are still some question marks surrounding Lynch and the Oakland rushing attack – questions that are going to have answers soon enough.