We started with the quarterbacks and we move on to their backfield mates who tote the rock. The running back positions may be devalued overall these days, but if you have a good one, he can make all the difference in the world.
Let’s take a look at how the teams stack up in the AFC West at the running back position.
Starter: Josh Jacobs
Led all AFC West running backs in both rushing yards (1065) and yards from scrimmage (1303). His numbers were way down early last season, averaging 3.4 yards per carry without a single 100-yard game over the first six games. But they picked up late in the season, jumping to 4.27 yards per carry and scored seven touchdowns over his final nine games and was named to his first Pro Bowl.
Joining Jacobs in the backfield is Kenyan Drake who had 1092 yards from scrimmage and scored ten touchdowns. His addition only strengthens the Raiders backfield led by Jacobs.
Starter: Melvin Gordon
Gordon had a bounce-back season in his first year with the Broncos. It was not nearly the type of numbers he put up in his Pro Bowl 2018 season and prior to that in which he averaged nearly 1000 yards rushing and 1500 yards from scrimmage each season. But he was back to double-digit touchdowns (10) and had his second-best yards per carry (4.6) of his career. He’s still just 28.
They did lose their second-leading rusher, Phillip Lindsay in free agency. Lindsay had rushed over 1000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons, so his loss is not insignificant. Royce Freeman will be the smash to Gordon’s dash.
Starter: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Helaire had some nice moments, but inconsistent. The playoffs encapsulated that pretty well. He was inactive in the first round, ran for seven yards on seven touches in the AFC Championship game, and then broke of 64 yards on just nine carries (7.1 ypc) in the Super Bowl.
Le’Veon Bell was supposed to provide a boost as well, but did not. Now he’s pulling his usual crap and ranting about never playing for Andy Reid again. Something tells me Reid isn’t too hurt by that. Problem is, the Chiefs don’t have a viable number two back.
Starter: Austin Ekeler
Ekeler has always been more of a receiving threat, which was fine in 2019 being that he put up 1550 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. His numbers were down last season, even when you factor in that he played just ten games. Sharing the carries behind Ekeler is the duo of Josh Kelley and Justin Jackson.
Like this article?
Sign up for the Raiders Wire email newsletter to get our top stories in your inbox every morning
An error has occured
Please re-enter your email address.
Thanks for signing up!
You’ll now receive the top Raiders Wire stories each day directly in your inbox.