Raiders draft outlook: Running backs

Raiders draft outlook: Running backs
April 22, 2013, 7:45 am
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UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin ran for 1,734 yards and 13 touchdowns during his senior season. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

The NFL Draft's first round is three days away and the Raiders still hold the No. 3 overall pick. They don't seemingly need a running back, but they do need good players as general manager Reggie McKenzie continues his rebuild of the Raiders. We continue our position-by-position series on the Raiders' draft outlook with a look at the running backs…

[RELATED: NFL Draft Central]

Who's here: Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece, Rashad Jennings, Jeremy Stewart, Jamize Olawale, Jon Hoese.

Draft needs: It's trite, but true, because it's not a question of if McFadden gets injured, but when, and what will the Raiders do without him? Two years ago, they could lean on Michael Bush, the thunder to Run DMC's lightning and last year, Mike Goodson was supposed to be the change-of-pace back. But he, too, was injured. So hybrid fullback Marcel Reece stepped in. The Raiders also signed Rashad Jennings to be McFadden's backup, but he is not necessarily a proven commodity. Oakland still misses that third-down pile mover, too.

Good fits: The Raiders have decided to go all-in with McFadden in this, his contract year…unless, of course, someone makes an offer they can't refuse. So unless they feel comfortable and confident with the roster as is, they need to draft another back. UCLA's Johnathan Franklin impressed the Raiders at the Senior Bowl as they coached the 5-feet-10, 205-pound bigger model of Maurice Jones-Drew and Franklin started the game and carried the ball five times, finishing with 41 yards and a 20-yard TD run. Franklin's stock is rising, though, even if he had ball-security issues with the Bruins, and he is seen as a second-rounder. Oregon's diminutive Kenjon Barner, who is 5-9, 196, compares to Joe McKnight and ran for 13 yards on three attempts at the Senior Bowl for the Raiders, but also had a game-high seven catches for 59 yards, including a three-yard TD. He's a mid- to late-round prospect. As far as an under-the-radar fullback, keep an eye on Harvard's 6-1, 248-pound Kyle Juszczyk, who started at fullback in the Senior Bowl for Oakland's staff.