Throughout the 2020 NFL season, the Las Vegas Raiders will face a handful of elite running backs. To start the season, the Raiders will face Christian McCaffery and Alvin Kamara in their first two weeks. Next, Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, and LeVeon Bell waiting in the wings to meet the Raiders towards the end of 2020. While the star running backs opposing the Raiders have a tendency to shine, the Raiders must focus on underrated running backs on their radar this season.
The Raiders must be aware of Phillip Lindsay’s playmaking ability. Although Lindsay rushed for 1000 yards in both of his last two seasons, he also lost his job to Melvin Gordon. Gordon appears to be a handful for opposing defenses on his own. However, should he be able to gel with Lindsay, the Denver Broncos should be in possession of one of the best running back duos in the NFL. It also must be mentioned that the Raiders will face Lindsay and the Broncos twice during the regular season, meaning a lack of preparation will not be accepted as an excuse.
Although the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft tilted heavily towards wide receivers in the early rounds, running backs found homes early. Jonathan Taylor was drafted 41st overall by the Indianapolis Colts. While other running backs left before him, Taylor owns the potential to make the Colts dangerous. Taylor, a former Wisconsin Badger, earned honors like Big Ten All-Decade Team. He joined Saquon Barkley as the only backs selected to the first team. Taylor was a generational talent at Wisconsin and racked up over 6000 yards in his three years at the school. With the Raiders’ additions of linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwaitkoski, the team is more prepared for a power back like Taylor. Although slowing him down will remain a challenge.
Dawg Pound Greatness
Another overlooked running back on the Raiders’ schedule could be Nick Chubb. Chubb certainly began breaking out last season, but may have lost some recognition due to the Kareem Hunt signing and drama. While Hunt is an incredible talent, it can be easy, yet shocking, to forget about Chubb. In 2019, Chubb rushed for almost 1500 yards (1494), and averaged about 93 yards per game. Of course, Chubb lived in the spotlight for ten games due to Hunt’s suspension. While Hunt took some of the spotlight away from Chubb, the snaps and starting role remained in Chubb’s favor. Plus, Chubb ran for over 100 yards in back to back games in weeks 13 and 14.
Hunt can thrill on the field and demand respect from defenses. Yet, the Raiders should worry more when Chubb takes the field. However, the Browns’ offense may be undergoing a bit of a shakeup and starting spots can be guessed, but certainly not assumed. Regardless, the Browns also have the potential to have one of the best running back duos in the NFL.