Oakland Raiders: The good, bad, and ugly in preseason win over the Lions

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images /
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Oakland Raiders
AMES, IA – SEPTEMBER 28: Running back Chris Warren III #25 of the Texas Longhorns drives the ball into the end zone as defensive back Reggie Wilkerson #3, and linebacker Marcel Spears Jr. #42 of the Iowa State Cyclones defend in the first half of play at Jack Trice Stadium on September 28, 2017 in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images) /

Good: Chris Warren III

After a relatively anonymous and undistinguished career at Texas, Chris Warren III, unsurprisingly, went undrafted this year. It’s about what you’d expect would happen to a guy who, in three years, compiled just 1,150 total rushing yards, and 13 touchdowns.

So, it was a bit of a surprise when Gruden brought the undrafted free agent Warren in this offseason. Most especially, because the backfield already seems pretty crowded with Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington all vying for touches – or just flat out vying for a roster spot.

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Heading into that first preseason game, it’s rightly assumed though, that the only one of Oakland’s backs who are safe is Lynch – and with that one 60-yard burst (that was ultimately negated because of a penalty), we see why.

After Lynch though, every spot is up for grabs. Gruden has heaped enormous amount of praise on Martin, but locking him in to be Lynch’s backup might be a bit premature. Especially, after the performance Warren put on against Detroit.

Seeing the most action of Oakland’s backup running backs, Warren made the most of his opportunity. He ran with power, aggression, vision, and speed. In one moment, he was bruising like Lynch, in another, he was shifty like Richard.

Seeing him run the way he ran through and around the Lions makes you wonder how he led such an undistinguished career at Texas.

Warren’s 86 yards on 13 rushing attempts (an average of 6.6 yards per carry) far eclipsed anything the rest of Oakland’s backs did, but was part of a solid effort that combined for 147 total yards on the ground.

Yeah, it was only one game. And yeah, Warren was running through and around mostly Detroit’s twos and threes – though, he did truck Jarrad Davis during joint practices – but he looked good. Solid. He was decisive, had a quick burst, showed plenty of strength and power, and had his game going.

If Warren can start to string together performances like the one he put on against Detroit though, he could find himself leapfrogging up the depth chart in Oakland’s backfield.

At the very least, with performances like that, he’s going to make Gruden’s decision about which backs to keep after Lynch, a very, very difficult.