Entering 2023 Training Camp, Raiders.com will preview every position group and evaluate the players who will potentially make up the 53-man roster. We shift to a cohesive running back unit.
The Raiders' run attack was potent last season, and hints at the reasoning behind the entire unit returning this year.
The success of the run game can be described in two words: Josh Jacobs. He's been a Pro Bowl caliber player for the Raiders since being drafted out of Alabama in 2019, but took his game to another level last season. He ran his way to a First Team All-Pro selection, leading the league in rushing yards (1,653), total scrimmage yards (2,053), rushing first downs (93) and longest rush with an 86-yard walk-off TD against the Seattle Seahawks. The team franchise tagged Jacobs earlier this offseason.
What also can't be denied is the talent surrounding Jacobs in the running back room. Brandon Bolden is expected to reprise his role as a veteran leader with extensive knowledge of McDaniels' playbook. Ameer Abdullah re-signed with the Silver and Black this offseason after seemingly finding a role on special teams and as the third-down back. He accumulated 543 yards in kick returns with over 200 receiving yards and a touchdown in his debut season with the Raiders.
"Really is about just doing what's asked of you. I think that's the main thing," Abdullah said of his mindset going into the 2023 season. "Not trying to make things too big or small, just doing what is asked. As far as roles or anything, I think everyone is just working their best to know everything, to be able to do everything to help the team in whatever that we're being asked."
Two other running backs that are continuing to make a name for themselves are 2022 draft picks Zamir White and Brittain Brown. Both had nice preseasons last year, totaling a combined 240 rushing yards and four touchdowns in their four game appearances. Once the season began, the two rookies settled into roles on special teams and saw limited snaps behind Jacobs, Bolden and Abdullah.
Offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi believes that this offseason has been beneficial for the two young men as they continue to develop and be potentially thrust into bigger roles.
"[W]e always we always talk about your role is what you make it, and I think there's there hasn't been a greater opportunity the one in the running back room for those young players like Zamir and Brittain," Lombardi said during OTAs. "They've gotten a lot of reps, they've gotten a lot exposure, they've learned a lot, so there's no hiding anymore."
The running back group is rounded out by Austin Walter and Sincere McCormick. Walter played in nine career games before signing with the Raiders last offseason. He rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown in the 2022 preseason and was on the practice squad throughout the year. McCormick returns for what will technically be his rookie season after tearing his ACL in offseason training last year. The UDFA from the UTSA Roadrunners was a two-time Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year, rushing for 34 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards in three collegiate seasons.
For a second straight season, Jakob Johnson is the Raiders' lone fullback. This will be Johnson's fifth season with Josh McDaniels, having first entered the league with the Patriots through the NFL's International Player Pathway Program in 2019. He hasn't missed a game in three seasons, playing a pivotal part in run blocking and special teams for the Silver and Black last year.
View photos of the Las Vegas Raiders running backs heading into 2023 Training Camp.