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Raiders Draft Position Targets: Running Back

Raiders Draft Position Targets: Running Back

Silver and Black Today NFL Draft Analyst Kelly Kriner will list possible Las Vegas Raiders draft targets for 2020 in a series of articles between now and the first day of the NFL Draft.


Writer’s note: In this series, I am going to review some of the possible targets for the Raiders in each round of the NFL draft. I will be going through each position group, except TE because the Raiders have 10 TEs and this TE class is forgettable at best. I’m sure nobody will read this line but I want to say that I’m not suggesting the Raiders take these players in these rounds. I am merely saying these are possible targets if they do draft these positions in each round.


After hitting a home run last year with Josh Jacobs in the first round of the NFL Draft last season, the Las Vegas Raiders don’t have a pressing need at RB but the depth in this year’s draft class will provide the team with may options.  If you want a bell-cow back or a third-down/change of pace guy, you will have many options this year. Here are a couple of options for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Round 1 – D’Andre Swift, Georgia

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 07: D’Andre Swift #7 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs with the ball in the first half against the LSU Tigers during the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Pros:

  • Open field vision is one of Swifts biggest assets.  His ability to make tacklers miss and find holes is next level.
  • Contact balance allows Swift to break tackles and gain more yards after contact
  • Pass Protection is a plus, willing to layout blitzers
  • Good hands out of the backfield allow him to stay on the field in passing downs
  • Coming from Georgia has was part of a stable of running which means he has more tread on the tires

Cons:    

  • Lack of top-end speed allows defenders to catch up and keep Swift from hitting the home-run plays.
  • Vision at the line of scrimmage needs improvement, tends to be a little too North\South in running.
  • Nagging injuries have been a minor issue but his willingness to take on tacklers instead of trying to make them miss could increase these in the NFL.

Swift is a three-down back that can bring a lot of stability to an NFL backfield. A little more patience behind the line of scrimmage will lead to an improvement in his overall game. He will be one of the first players off the board at the RB position in 2020.

Round 3 – Cam Akers, Florida State

Akers was a talented back on a team without a supporting cast.

Pros:     

  • Great feet and cutting ability are one of Akers’s biggest weapons.
  • Has good speed for his size that will allow him to break a ton of plays.
  • Explosiveness when hitting a hole is next level.

Cons:    

  • Ball security has been an issue in the pas.t
  • Pass protection will be an issue that needs vast improvement. It’s more of an issue with picking up blitzes than a willingness to block.
  • Patience is an issue behind the line, but I am willing to put a lot of that on the dumpster fire that was FSU last year.

I am an admitted Cam Akers homer and put most of his disappointing years at FSU on FSU. A team that has been a national title contender for years has fallen off a cliff and took Akers with them. If he goes to a team, and they get his potential out of him, you will have a draft steal.

Round 4  – Anthony McFarland, Maryland

anthony mcfarland las vegas raiders nfl draft
McFarland possesses breakneck-speed and is a natural playmaker.

Pros:     

  • Speed to burn, Mcfarland can absolutely fly.
  • Home run hitter. Every time he touches the ball there is a chance of something special.
  • Very elusive due to his size and speed.
  • Ability to find a hole no matter how small is impressive. He can make a play when it looks like nothing is there.

Cons:    

  • Pass protection is not remotely where it needs to be, which could keep him off the field on third downs.
  • Not very patient…he wants to hit it hard and fast which leads to some negative runs.
  • Runs with a high pad level which will open him up to some unnecessary hits. A guy his size won’t be able to withstand those at the next level.

McFarland is the ultimate hit or miss runner. His game against Ohio State is an example of what he can do. He won’t ever be an every down runner but at this stage of the draft, you could do a lot worse if looking for a change of pace back. If McFarland gets drafted by the Chiefs, I will never watch football again.

Round 5  – A. J. Dillon, Boston College

A.J. Dillon could be a poor man’s Derrick Henry.

Pros:     

  • At 6-foot, 250 lbs Dillion is a fully-grown man that will make a corner or safety make a business decision on every tackle.
  • His speed at that size is excellent and he has a sudden burst to hit the next level.
  • He has good vision between the tackles which didn’t show up as much as it should – thanks to the inept BC offense.

Cons:    

  • A straight up runner that is more comfortable running over tacklers than ducking tackles.
  • Has trouble picking up the blitzes in pass pro.
  • Not a lot of receptions in his career, but that goes for everybody at BC in the last three years.

The ankle injury he played through during his sophomore season was the only thing that slowed down Dillon while at BC. Dillion’s workload will be a concern to some teams as he has taken a beating. I see a poor man’s Derrick Henry in the making. Put him behind a good offensive line and you could have a monster in the making.   

Kelly Kriner is a long-time football handicapper and draft analyst and appears on our CBS Sports Radio 1140 show when he's able to get up that early. Hailing from Indiana, Kriner calls Las Vegas home despite the fact Las Vegas doesn't claim him.

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