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2024 Position Breakdown: Running Backs

Position Breakdown_RB_2560x1440

Ahead of 2024 Training Camp, is previewing each position group and evaluating the players that could make up the 53-man roster. We now turn our attention to the running backs room.

With these two additions to the Raiders backfield, it seems clear pass-catching abilities will be coveted among the group.

Alexander Mattison was one of the team's flashier free agent signings after emerging as the Minnesota Vikings' starting running back in 2023. Over his five seasons with the Vikings, his role was largely defined as a reliable backup to Dalvin Cook, but made the most of his opportunities when called upon. He rushed for a career-high 700 yards on 180 attempts after taking over as the starter full-time. Along with his rushing prowess, he has two seasons of over 30 receptions, including a career-high three receiving touchdowns last season.

"Downhill, fast and physical. That's my mindset," Mattison said. "I just hope that I can be of value in pass protection, catching the ball out the backfield and definitely in the run game as well. I just like to try and be as versatile as I can, be a smart player and play downhill, fast, and physical."

The Silver and Black added another versatile piece with Dylan Laube, who led the FCS in total scrimmage yards the past two seasons. To go along with his 29 career collegiate rushing touchdowns, he totaled 1,163 receiving yards and nine touchdown grabs in his last two seasons at New Hampshire. Athleticism or level of competition in college shouldn't be a concern for the rookie either. At the NFL Combine, he was the top running back in 20-yard shuttle (4.02 seconds), second in the 10-yard split (1.52 seconds), third in 3-cone drill (6.84 seconds) and ran a 4.54 40-yard dash.

"I think kind of his best thing that he brings each and every day, he is wise beyond his years," running backs coach Cadillac Williams said. "I mean, he shows up like a vet, but he's a rookie. He has his worker hat on and brings it each and every day, and he can take what he learns from the classroom and apply it on the field. He'll always be in the right spots, got really good hands, quick, explosive. Just a very cerebral player, man that can do a lot, a lot of things if you line him up."

As Zamir White enters his third season, there's a lot of pressure on his shoulders.

White won't be alone in the backfield by any means, but he's expected to take a much larger role in the offense. However, it's not a role that's brand new to White as he ranked as the top running back prospect in the nation coming out of high school and went on to win a national championship at Georgia. Following two years of backing up Josh Jacobs, he could earn himself the workhorse running back title.

Though there is a small sample size of production from White in 2023, there's reason to be optimistic.He averaged close to 100 rushing yards a game in his four starts and totaled 334 rushing yards after contact last season.

"Raw, but got a chance to be really good," Williams said of the 24-year-old. "Big, physical, strong, quick, can do a lot of things that again you don't have to coach. The potential there is incredible. I think just a young man that's got to continue to hone in on the little things and continue to define his skills, but just with time and him trusting the process, trusting himself and us coaches putting him in the right position to be successful, he is going to flourish."

Ameer Abdullah, along with Mattison, can aid with White's workload in the backfield. Abdullah is an ultimate leader and veteran of the unit, going into his 10th NFL season. In his two years with Las Vegas, he's found a place on special teams and third-down situations, racking up 451 total scrimmage yards and 20 total tackles in that span.

Brittain Brown will have an opportunity to re-establish himself after injury forced him out the entirety of the 2023 season. He appeared in six games his rookie season after rushing for seven touchdowns during his senior season at UCLA.

Sincere McCormick, a former UTSA standout, will also battle for a place on the roster after spending the last two seasons on injured reserve or the practice squad. The two-time Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year scored two total touchdowns in the 2023 preseason.

View photos of the Las Vegas Raiders running backs heading into 2024 Training Camp.

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