Josh Jacobs took the league by storm last season, totaling 1,150 rushing yards, seven touchdowns, and averaged 4.8 yards per carry over 13 starts, but an injury prematurely ended his season — and probably played a role in why he was robbed of the OROY award.
It didn't take long for the former University of Alabama running back to become a focal point of the offense, but when he got hurt, the identity of the team clearly changed. With a lack of weapons at wide receiver, the Raiders offense struggled to get much of anything going over the final three games of the season. When Jacobs was sidelined, the offense scored more than 20 points once, which is why General Manager Mike Mayock and Head Coach Jon Gruden set out to add more depth this offseason.
Looking to inject some burst and speed into the system, the duo drafted Henry Ruggs III, adding a dynamic playmaker to the wide receiving corps, as well as Lynn Bowden Jr., but Mayock and Gruden didn't stop there. Monday, the team announced it signed running back Devontae Booker.
Booker joins the Raiders after four seasons with the Denver Broncos, where he played in 61 games and amassed 1,103 rushing yards and six touchdowns over four years. Booker initially competed for the starting role his first couple seasons, but the additions of Royce Freeman and Philip Lindsay reduced his reps to a time share.
Even though Jacobs is clearly the lead back in the Raiders' locker room, Booker can still play an important role if he's able to outshine his competition. Jalen Richard has carved out a nice role for himself through the years as a reliable pass catcher and Bowden could prove to be a useful spark plug when Jacobs needs a breather; however, Booker's patience in the backfield enhances his vision, which is hard to teach.
Ideally, I can't imagine the team will keep four running backs on the active roster, but Jacobs' injury towards the end of the season proved to be a catalyst for the offense's regression. Shoring up more depth at the position is essential and with the loss of DeAndré Washington, Booker's presence is needed more than ever.
Take a look at photos of new Raiders running back Devontae Booker in action. During his four years with the Broncos, Booker rushed for 1,103 yards and 6 touchdowns.