jalen

Each draft season there a few high profile players that make us dynasty owners salivate with purposeful envy. If we’re lucky we even get a potential bell cow running back. Fortunately after the Bishop Sankey saga of 2014 we were gifted Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott. Both appear destine for Fantasy purposes to be “elite.” Other tales like the “Jeremy Hill coming back to earth in 2015″ and “the Marcus Lattimore what if” story remind us how finicky the RB position can be. If you have looked to the future you know that the 2017 RB class will surely present us with 15 RBs that will run for 1,200-1,500 yards annually (mostly joking). Okay so maybe you were desperate enough and you traded away your 2017 1st round pick already. Or maybe just maybe you have burned by 1st round RBs in the past and you want nothing to do with them in round one ever again. This is exactly why we are here DFW attempt to unearth deep prospects that will give you the advantage before your league mates even know about them. This is the who, what and why: Jalen Richard Edition.


Who is Jalen Richard:
Richard is a 5-foot-8/207 pound undrafted free agent running back from Southern Miss. The former Golden Eagle was not on too many team’s radar this winter. Oakland and their “no stone unturned” approach to scouting has had them taking chances on some players from many no name universities. They are also always willing to take chances on players like Richard who lack elite college production. They see the role and the player that fits their puzzle.

He appears to be the perfect crossbreed of Clinton Portis and C.J. Anderson. He is a bowling ball between the tackles and nearly impossible to tackle up high. He dazzled the Oakland brass at rookie mini-camp enough for them to sign him to a three-year contract worth a potential 1.6 million dollars.


What can Jalen Richard give:
During his four-year tenure at Southern Miss he was one of two backs to have a 1,000 yard rushing season in their pass heavy gap scheme. He also endured and stayed put after the Golden Eagles went 0-12 during his freshman season and 1-11 during his sophomore campaign. He prided himself on being part of the solution and finally after a 3-9 junior year they went 9-5 and made a bowl game during senior season.

Richard also caught 83 balls in his college career. What was even more impressive was the variety of ways in which he was an effective pass catcher. He tore up the screen game but he also found success on wheel and angle routes. For a man his height it is unusual to have continued success in the middle of the field of play. He also did damage outside the hashes by getting vertical and catching the ball in stride.

His ability to stop and start with the ball as well as his ankle breaking cuts are translatable skills. His field vision is very good and he feels his way through traffic with forward determination. He can find his top speed very quickly when being pursued. In 41 game college games he averaged 5.3 yards per rush and 5.9 yards during his junior and senior seasons.


Why should you consider Jalen Richard:
How about why are Andre Williams and Denard Robinson still on your roster? Okay here is the real scoop. Oakland’s current RB1 Latavis Murray is a free agent at season’s end. If he has a monster season chances are the Raiders will let him walk and/or chase the money elsewhere. If he has a down season the result could be letting Murray test the free agent waters. Drafted rookie (round 5) DeAndre Washington would likely take over as the team’s RB1. Richard who is currently recovering from a precautionary/exploratory knee scope would be the third down slasher back.

Richard’s current competition is George Atkinson III who is having a decent camp but was waived then assigned to the practice squad then waived again during the 2015 season. Frankly, if Atkinson’s father was not a legendary Raider no olive branches would have been extended. Also Atkinson would only make a third of the what Richard would, should he snipe a roster spot.

Also do not forget Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie unearthed a UDFA last year named Seth Roberts (32/480/5). McKenzie is clearly smitten with Richard. He may not ever be a 200 touch guy but he can make the Raider offense more prolific. Imagine a third and five situation circa 2017 with QB Derek Carr in the gun with Washington and Richard on either side of him.

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