Raiders’ Jon Gruden Sees Bright Future for Jalen Richard

Jalen Richard

Getty Oakland Raiders RB Jalen Richard

The Oakland Raiders are going to be in a tough spot following the 2018 NFL season. While they’ve struggled throughout a year that’s become a total rebuild, Jon Gruden and company will be busy in the 2019 offseason. The team handed out a plethora of one-year deals and are losing some big names to free agency.

Specifically, the Raiders are facing a major question mark at the running back position. With two veterans in Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin’s contracts expiring and Jalen Richard set to be a restricted free agent, the position is up for grabs. Apparently, Gruden likes what he’s seen from Richard, though, so much so that he pointed to him as a player capable of producing full-time starter numbers.

Per The Athletic’s Vic Tafur:

That’s some seriously high praise, and to predict a player to rush for 1,000 yards and add 1,000 receiving yards as well points to a future as an NFL starter. While Richard has certainly flashed upside, this certainly doesn’t mean he’ll be the starter for the Raiders in the future, though.

As we’ve seen, Gruden has no problem shaking up the roster to get the players he wants in town. The running back position is unlikely to be any different and while the coach is high on Richard, there’s no guarantee that means he’ll be back for the 2019 season and beyond.

Jalen Richard’s 2018 Production

Through the bulk of the season, Richard had been delegated to passing-down duties. Prior to the Raiders’ Week 11 win over the Arizona Cardinals, the 25-year-old back hadn’t received more than five carries in a game, and that came in Week 1. Fortunately, he has thrived as a pass-catcher, and on the season has totaled 432 yards on 51 receptions.

The breakout for Richard came against the Cardinals when Doug Martin suffered an ankle injury late in the first half and Marshawn Lynch is currently on injured reserve. Richard received 11 carries, totaling 61 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and caught three passes for 32 yards for good measure.

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