Oakland Raiders: A few players to watch in preseason game vs. Rams

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 14: Justin Ellis
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 14: Justin Ellis /
2 of 6
Oakland Raiders
AUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 09: Chris Warren III #25 of the Texas Longhorns rushes for a touchdown in the second quarter against the San Jose State Spartans at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Chris Warren III

When undrafted free agent Chris Warren III came in, most figured it was to create little competition. Most figured he was a camp body who might probably end up on the practice squad once the 53-man roster is announced.

And he may still. But, he’s giving Gruden and the coaching staff a lot to think about.

More from Golden Gate Sports

Despite having an NFL pedigree – his father had a long, productive pro career, primarily with Seattle – Warren III, had a largely anonymous and undistinguished career at Texas. In three years as a Longhorn, Warren rushed for just 1,150 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Not a lot of production, and not a lot of expectations – hence, he went undrafted.

But, he started to make a name for himself when he absolutely trucked linebacker Jarrad Davis, during joint training camp practices with the Lions. Warren then went into last week’s preseason showdown with Detroit, and rushed for 86 yards on 13 carries, opening eyes even further.

When training camp started, most figured Marshawn Lynch was at the top of the food chain, with Bucs castoff Dough Martin, his primary backup. The roster battle was thought to be between Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington – two smaller change of pace backs, with similar size and skills, meaning Gruden may only keep one of them.

Warren’s performance so far though, may have Gruden and the coaches shuffling the deck a bit. Oh, Lynch will still be at the top of the food chain, but could Warren be pushing for legit reps as his backup?

After his performance against Detroit, some started to speculate that he could very well be leapfrogging his way up the depth chart, and may even supplant Martin. Though Martin has shined during camp, it’s clear that Warren outplayed him against Detroit.

We know that Warren has the build Gruden likes his his backs (six-foot-two, 246 pounds). He’s also got power, and speed that Gruden likes. He also has the versatility to switch to fullback if needed – and we know Gruden loves his fullbacks.

One preseason game doesn’t mean much – especially when you put up big numbers against the other team’s twos and threes. But, if Warren can keep it up, getting better and stronger as the preseason goes on, he very well could find himself on the 53-man roster.