Talk about a bold prediction, right?
When the 2013 campaign has come to a close, rookie running back Latavius Murray will have the most rushing yards for the Oakland Raiders. Here’s why.
First and foremost, starter Darren McFadden will fall to injury at some point this year. Seeing as it’s happen every year since the Raiders made him a first-round pick back in 2008, it’s basically guaranteed injuries will continue to be annual occurrences for McFadden.
Once that happens, the door will open for another one of the Raiders’ running backs to pick up the slack in the ground game. That’s where Murray becomes a part of the picture.
A rookie out of UCF, Murray is an intriguing prospect who surprisingly fell to the Raiders in the sixth round. With prototypical size (6’3’’, 230 pounds) and sneaky speed, the first-year runner has the potential to carve a niche in the Raiders’ rushing attack. If McFadden falls early, he might even make enough of an impact to give the team reason to let the injury-prone veteran walk this offseason.
Before he can fill in as McFadden’s immediate backup, Murray must leapfrog veteran Rashad Jennings on the depth chart. Signed this offseason to add some depth and experience at running back, Jennings has significant playing time on his resume but struggled mightily last year when thrust into a starting role. Considering his lackluster showing with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012, Jennings could easily fall to Murray if the rookie shines during training camp and the preseason.
If Murray can reach his full potential, Michael Bush will turn out to be the poor man’s version of the rookie. He has the size/power combination to be an effective short-yardage runner, but still has the explosiveness in open space to rack up big chunks of yards. He might not offer the same type of package as McFadden, but Murray brings considerably more durability to the table.
Once McFadden falls, the Raiders will implement a Murray-heavy offense. That’s when the rookie will pick up a team-high rushing yards during the 2013 season.
You heard it here first.