When veteran running back Rashad Jennings signed with the Oakland Raiders this season many thought he would be nothing but a bench warmer. The former Jacksonville Jaguar had a less than spectacular year last year by gaining only 2.8 yards per carry. It looked as though the injuries Jennings suffered early on in his career had derailed his career in the NFL. Many forget that when Jennings first came into the NFL he played like a future star running back as he had over 5.2 yards per carry in his first two seasons. With the injuries to Darren McFadden, Jennings has stepped up his game for the Raiders.
After years of frustration it looks as though the Raider Nation has finally given up on the oft-injured “McFragile”. This year McFadden has not only been hampered by injuries but he looks like a shell of himself by only gaining 3.6 yards per carry. McFadden is in his last year under contract with the Raiders and it looks like his disappointing career in the silver and black is almost over.
Even though the Raiders will have up to 70 million dollars in cap room, finding a running back in free agency is hard to come by. Rashad Jennings might be the answer to the Raiders running back woes for at least one more year. The 6’1 231 pound Jennings has looked like the Jennings of old and has been using his size to break tackles.
Reggie McKenzie will have most of his draft picks this year so expect him to fill some holes in the draft class. While it is unlikely that he uses a top pick on a running back, he might find one in the mid-rounds. The Raiders also have an interesting prospect in Latavius Murray who will be back next year. Murray has the size and speed to be a perfect replacement for McFadden down the line. In a best case scenario, Murray and Jennings are teamed together to become a thunder and lighting duo for the Raiders next season.
Expect Rashad Jennings to run hard for the remainder of the season because he is playing for a starting job next season. Unfortunately, it looks like Darren McFadden can be added to the list of first round SEC busts that the Raiders have drafted over the last decade.