Raiders draft outlook: Running backs

Raiders draft outlook: Running backs
May 4, 2014, 12:00 pm
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Prior to missing time, running back Maurice Jones-Drew earned three-straight All-Pro selections (2009-11). (AP)

Raiders Draft Outlook
Outside Linebackers
Inside Linebackers
Defensive Linemen
Wide Receivers
Offensive Linemen
Tight Ends
Running Backs
May 5 -- Quarterbacks

Editor’s note: Insider Scott Bair will have draft content every day leading up to the NFL Draft (May 8-10), including position breakdowns, retrospectives, mock drafts and more; bookmark our Road to the NFL Draft

The excitement around Latavius Murray couldn’t have been higher for a sixth-round pick.

Maybe it was the 4.38 40-yard dash, or the 6-foot-2, 223-pound frame. However, the promise of a hulking speedster unafraid of contact didn’t last long. An ankle injury ended his season early in last training camp, leaving rushing duties to the more experienced.

Hope remains that Murray can show health and production at the pro level, though that’s far from guaranteed.

The Raiders have veterans Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden to carry the load, assuming the can stay healthy. Anything they get from Murray is a bonus. At a bare minimum, he’s a contingency plan.

Jones-Drew and McFadden have suffered injuries of late, and aren’t getting any younger. While it isn’t a requirement, the Raiders could look for a future option later in this draft.

[RELATED: Raiders' outlook at the tight end position]

Who's here: RB Maurice Jones-Drew, RB Darren McFadden, RB Latavius Murray, RB Jeremy Stewart, RB Kory Sheets, FB Marcel Reece, FB Jamize Olawale

Draft needs: Murray is an unknown commodity, leaving the team’s running back of the future unidentified. They’d prefer a rushing committee anyway, and could consider another back for the future whether or not Murray steps up.

Good fits: Stanford rusher Tyler Gaffney (6-0, 220) could work out with the Raiders if he falls far enough to become a value option. He’s a physical rusher with burst and could prove a tough option in time. De’Anthony Thomas (5-9, 174) from Oregon might become a solid third-down back as a pass catcher and big-play threat when running outside the tackles. He, like Gaffney, is projected as a fifth- or sixth-round pick.