NFL rumors are swirling around DeAndre Washington. According to NBC Sports, the Oakland Raiders are close to finalizing a deal with the former Texas Tech Red Raiders running back. Washington was a fifth round draft pick, and he has the potential to become an immediate contributor with a Raiders offense that is growing into one of the more potent units in the National Football League. Combined with Latavius Murray, Washington should provide Oakland with quite the ground game.
DeAndre Washington is one of the best running backs in the history of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. He’s the fifth player in school history to have back to back seasons of rushing for more than 1,000 yards. It’s been more than two decades since that last happened at Texas Tech. Byron Hanspard did it back in 1995. Washington made headlines whenever he rushed for four touchdowns when the Red Raiders played the TCU Horned Frogs.
Last season, the Oakland Raiders had one of the worst rushing games in the NFL. As a team, they tallied less than 1,500 yards on the ground. DeAndre Washington had more than 1,400 yards for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Management is hoping that his skills and talents can translate to the professional level. Latavius Murray rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, but he needs help in the backfield. That’s why the Raiders made it a point to find another running back in the draft.
When the season starts, DeAndre Washington will more than likely start his NFL career as a backup. Latavius Murray should be able to secure the starting spot because of his experience. Losing out on the starting job is not the worst thing in the world for Washington. He can still earn playing time by being a change of pace back behind Murray. Washington could end up splitting the job evenly with Murray.
Derek Carr [Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images]
Life should be a bit easier for Latavius Murray, DeAndre Washington and whatever other running backs that the Oakland Raiders end up using during the season. In free agency, the team managed to acquire the services of Kelechi Osemele, the former Baltimore Ravens star who is one of the best guards in the NFL. He’s a road grader. Many believe that the Raiders have an offensive line that can compete with the Dallas Cowboys offensive line as being the best unit in the National Football League.
It will also help the running backs that the Oakland Raiders passing game has developed into a threat. Derek Carr has proven that he can be a legitimate franchise quarterback in the NFL. The Raiders should be set at that position for the next several years. The wide receiver spots are set as well. Michael Crabtree is a reliable veteran, while Amari Cooper is one of the better young wide receivers to come out of the draft in quite some time.
Defensively, the Oakland Raiders have improved tremendously. Bruce Irvin left the Seattle Seahawks in free agency to rejoin Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. Sean Smith and Reggie Nelson were brought in to provide the secondary with some help. This unit should benefit the offense because they won’t be required to play catch up all the time.
It’s been a while since the Oakland Raiders have been this complete of a team. On the surface, DeAndre Washington might seem just like another fifth round draft pick. However, close observers of the NFL know that you can find quality running backs later in the draft nowadays. Washington could end up playing a much bigger role in the success of the Raiders than people initially thought he would.
[Photo by John Weast/Getty Images]