The Oakland Raiders will look for a bounce-back season under new head coach Jon Gruden. Their first order of business will be to fix one of the league’s worst defenses. After that, Gruden will get to do what he does best, build an unstoppable offense. With the future of Marshawn Lynch still undetermined, the Raiders may look elsewhere for someone to take the pressure off Derek Carr and the passing game.
Here are three running backs the Raiders should look into this offseason to replace Lynch.
Doug Martin – His time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sure had its fair share of ups and downs. From suspensions to losing his job to finally being let go. At one point, Martin was one of the best backs in the NFL. In his rookie season of 2012, Martin rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns. His next 1,000-yard season wouldn’t come until 2015 when he rushed for 1,402 yards. Other than those seasons, Martin has not gained over 500 yards. The issue has been injuries and discipline problems. What should be appealing to the Raiders is that Martin, although 29, has only played a full season just twice in his career. If given a chance with the Raiders, he should enter camp with a chip on his shoulder.
Isaiah Crowell – Nevermind that Crowell has spent time with the Cleveland Browns. Oftentimes, players get a bad rep for playing on bad teams. However, looking at Crowell’s stats, he’s been pretty good for the Browns. Crowell has not had a 1,000-yard season yet, but that can be attributed to two reasons. One is that he often shares the backfield and the other is that the Browns have not had a reliable quarterback to take pressure off their running game. Last season, according to Sports Reference, Crowell rushed for 852 yards on 206 carries and showed flashes of speed around the corners. If given a stable quarterback and offensive line, Crowell could be a breakout player for the Raiders.
Dion Lewis – Will the Patriots let Lewis walk is the bigger question? Lewis has speed and hands and would be another weapon for Jon Gruden if he were to fall into their laps this offseason. In 2017, Lewis rushed for 896 yards and six touchdowns on just 180 carries. Those are the type of numbers Gruden looks for. Pairing Lewis with Carr, Crabtree, and Cooper would give the Raiders one of the best offenses in the NFL. And more so than the others on this list is the fact that Lewis has Super Bowl experience to boot. Not only a great runner, but he’ll be looked upon as a locker room leader to help the Raiders with the ins and outs of winning.