The Oakland Raiders are coming into training camp with a number of position battles coming on offense, as Latavius Murray and Trent Richardson are competing to start at running back, while rookie Clive Walford could push Mychal Rivera to start at tight end for Derek Carr alongside likely starters Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
The Raiders have a new head coach and a new outlook with Derek Carr coming into year two and this could be the season where the team finally shows some improvement. According to Bill Williamson at ESPN.com, Murray is expected to be the starter for the Raiders this season after showing some explosiveness in limited time last year. The Raiders signed Richardson in the offseason, but he comes in after two tough years with the Colts and could end up as the number two back.
The Raiders drafted Clive Walford this year and while the team really likes what he has done in the offseason, Williamson writes that Rivera should open as the starter. According to NFL.com, Walford has good size and is considered a better blocker than Rivera and if he plays well in camp, he could end up contributing a lot during the season. The Raiders feel that both players can help the offense this season, with the TE position being a safety valve for Carr.
The Raiders feel good about the moves they made in the offseason, adding Richardson, Michael Crabtree and Roy Helu to the offense and that came after players like Jermaine Gresham, Pierre Thomas, Stevan Ridley, Dwayne Bowe, Hakeem Nicks and Nate Washington all were mentioned as options for the team. The Raiders missed out on the big names like DeMarco Murray, Jeremy Maclin and Randall Cobb, but they feel like the offense should be better with Carr getting more weapons in Year 2.
Crabtree is a solid addition, as he is a veteran and a solid pas catcher and now he doesn't have to be a number one with Amari Cooper in Oakland. According to NFL.com, Crabtree was getting interest from the Washington Redskins and the San Diego Chargers in free agency before signing with the Raiders. Crabtree is coming off of a down year but he was a high draft pick and has shown in the past that he can put up strong numbers in the right offense. Last season Crabtree had 68 receptions with 698 yards and four touchdowns and the 49ers are not planning on re-signing him. The Raiders also lost Darren McFadden in free agency.
The team is firmly behind Carr and he came in last year after passing for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in his final season with Fresno State. The Raiders come into the year following two straight 4-12 seasons before going 3-13 in 2014 and they ranked 22nd in rushing yards allowed per game. The team was 26th in passing on offense and 32nd in rushing yards and that is why the offensive side will be a focus. McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew are done and that opens things up for Murray.