Jalen Richard just needs to stay healthy.
The only knock on the Raiders undrafted rookie running back who is now threatening for the lead in team touches was that he never played a full season over four years at Southern Mississippi. If Richard can take even 50 percent of Oakland’s running back touches and stay healthy, though, holy cow. The Raiders would have hit pay dirt.
Richard averaged 5.9 yards per carry on 185 rushing attempts during his senior season, and hit training camp with a vengeance. His electric runs were as entertaining as they were impressive, until he got too banged up to play in a few preseason games.
But the upside was clear, and so Richard became the only Raiders player in the two Jack Del Rio training camps to remain while missing a sizable chunk of the offseason program as an undrafted player.
It sure came with an immediate payoff: a 75 yard touchdown run that included a bottled up line of scrimmage that only a small back could burst through, and with it, an opening week win.
Credit a ballsy two point conversion, and late excellence from the Raiders offense, but don’t forget Richard.
He could be the best value to come out of the draft process for the Raiders since general manager Reggie McKenzie came aboard. Including second round quarterback Derek Carr, the league’s most dynamic pass rusher, and the lightning quick Amari Cooper.
Richard wasn’t even drafted.
His future is bright. When the Raiders host the Falcons Sunday morning in their home opener, bet your bottom dollar that Richard will see more than the five touches he saw the last week. Because the kid looks like he can do it all.
He just has to stay healthy.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Raiders football.