After a poor effort in the run game a season ago, the Oakland Raiders addressed the running back position in the 2013 NFL Draft. The team selected Latavius Murray out of UCF in the sixth round to bring another dimension to their rushing attack.
Murray is battling to be the back-up to starting running back Darren McFadden. At 6'3", 225 pounds, Murray is a load. Even by NFL standards his size is off the charts. Murray compliments his size with soft hands, reeling in 50 passes in college. He rushed for 2,424 yards in his college career including 1,106 his senior season. He added 37 rushing touchdowns and more than five and a half yards per rush his final three seasons.
A season ago, the Raiders received average production for back-up Mike Goodson. Goodson averaged a terrific 6.3 yards per carry, but only attempted 35 rushes. Murray is a different back than Goodson. Goodson was a change of pace, Murray is a hammer. He will have comparable size to linebackers trying to bring him down. The Raiders need a back that can wear down a defense. McFadden has a good combination of size, speed and power, but doesn't have the build of Murray. The two running backs should complement each other well.
“Oh yeah, he’s doing a great job out there,” McFadden said of Murray this week. “Like I said, he’s been going out there and learning, coming on well.”
With McFadden's injury history, it is important that Oakland has serviceable depth at running back. Murray is competing with Rashad Jennings and Jeremy Stewart for the number two spot. Fullback Marcel Reece will also factor into the backfield in some fashion. It will be up to offensive coordinator Greg Olson along with Tony Sparano to disperse carries to maximize production. McFadden is extremely important to this offense, but they need to keep him fresh. Murray has that ability and can punish defenses with his combination size, speed, and power.
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