Who Will Win the Oakland Raiders’ Running Back Battle?

The running back spot will make for one of the more interesting position battles of the Oakland Raiders’ 2014 training camp.

Some will argue the position is losing its value in a pass-dominated league, but the recent success of teams like the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers says otherwise.

With the upgrades in talent and size on the offensive line, it is no secret the Raiders will look to take after the those two perennial contenders and plan to run the ball in the upcoming season and beyond.

The Raiders’ final roster will have quite a bit of talent at the running back position to do so, but the candidates for the starting spot will come down to Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew.

First, the case of McFadden is well known by Raiders fans already.

When healthy, he can be one of the more explosive backs in the league, capable of scoring from anywhere on the field.

In his healthiest of seasons in 2010, when he started 13 of 16 games, McFadden ran for more than 1,100 yards, averaged 5.2 yards per carry and tallied seven touchdowns.

Add in his career-high numbers in the passing game of 47 receptions for 507 yards and another four touchdowns, and it seemed as though the Raiders had the kind of versatile running back that an offense could be built around.

Of course, the problem with that has been his inability to consistently stay on the field and take advantage of that potential.

A free agent this past offseason, the Raiders had a difficult decision to make on McFadden.

The injury issues had undoubtedly grown frustrating for both sides, and many assumed that the Raiders’ former first-round pick would be playing elsewhere in 2014.

However, that factor alone all but guaranteed a one-year “prove it” deal as the market value for McFadden wherever he landed. Why not Oakland?


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