2019 Position Review: Running Backs

MORE POSITION REVIEWS: Quarterbacks, Safeties

The 2019 regular season is officially in the books, and while we're already looking ahead to the 2020 offseason, let's take some time to look back at the Raiders' roster, position by position, to see what the new year could hold for the Silver and Black.

Next up, we take a look at the running backs.

*fullback Alec Ingold is also included in this position review.

Overview:

I've done it a dozen times already, so what the heck, I'll do it once more – I must deeply, humbly, and sincerely apologize.

I'll admit it, when the Silver and Black selected Josh Jacobs No. 24 overall in last year's NFL Draft, I didn't love it.

I didn't know if it was worth it to pull the trigger and select a back in the first round, and at the time, I felt like there were more pressing needs that had to be addressed on the roster.

Well, that's just one of the million reasons I'm not a "football guy" and the personnel decisions are left to the guys who spend months evaluating, because, we all know how that pick turned out.

Jacobs was an absolute stud for the Raiders, as the two-time NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month seemingly broke a franchise record each week, en route to an absolutely stellar first season in Silver and Black, carrying the ball 242 times for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns.

Think about this, it took Jacobs just eight games to set the franchise record for rushing yards in a season by a rookie – you read that correctly, eight games.

The University of Alabama-product didn't do it all by himself though, as the dude he ran behind much of the year – fellow rookie Alec Ingold – quickly established himself as one of the best fullbacks in the NFL as well.

In addition to Jacobs, both Jalen Richard and DeAndré Washington proved their worth in 2019, particularly over the final few games of the season when No. 28 was missing time due to injury.

All told, Washington carried the ball 108 times for 387 yards and three touchdowns, while Richard also chipped in with 39 carries and 145 yards in his own right.

Jacobs may have gotten a majority of the pub in the running backs' room in 2019 – and deservedly so – but don't get it twisted, from top to bottom Kirby Wilson's group was one of the most complete on the entire roster.

Number to Know:

Seventy.

According to the good folks over at Pro Football Focus, Josh Jacobs forced an absurd 70 missed tackles in his first season in Silver and Black.

To give that number a little bit of context, Nick Chubb and Chris Carson were tied for second with 68 forced missed tackles in 2019, but Jacobs played fewer games than both those backs did.

A year in, and I think we're still trying to find out the correct adjectives to describe Jacobs' running style, but while those words haven't yet materialized, one thing is certain – that dude is going to be a problem in the AFC West for a long time.

Entering 2020…

Isaiah Crowell – Unrestricted Free Agent

Alec Ingold – Under Contract

Josh Jacobs – Under Contract

Jalen Richard – Unrestricted Free Agent

Rod Smith – Unrestricted Free Agent

DeAndré Washington – Unrestricted Free Agent

Let's start with the good news first – Josh Jacobs isn't going to be going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

The athletic rookie – along with fullback Alec Ingold – is under contract for 2020 and beyond, so Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock won't have to lose sleep over his status for a few years.

Now, the not-so-good news – literally everyone else in the position group from a year ago are unrestricted free agents and poised to hit the market.

And no disrespect to Crowell or Rod Smith, but I think the biggest question headed into 2020 for the Raiders' running backs is what happens with Jalen Richard and Deandré Washington.

Both with the team since 2016, the duo of Richard and Washington proved their worth to the Silver and Black time after time, and honestly, both have the talent to be starting running backs in the league.

So, as we approach the start of free agency, keep an eye on both those guys to see how their respective situations shake out.

Would I love to have both of them back in Silver and Black for their fifth season as Raiders? Absolutely, but we'll just have to wait and see how it all transpires over the next few months.

Position Group MVP:

You set a franchise record almost every time you step on the field, and you get the nod as the position group MVP.

Plain and simple, Josh Jacobs was an aberration in his rookie year, and he showed in short order that not only was he totally worth the No. 24 overall pick, but that he was also one of the best running backs in the entire NFL.

2019 was a great start for Jacobs, but it was just that – the start.

Check out part two of the best images taken during the Raiders' 2019 Season.

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