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Oakland Raiders Position Battles to Watch: Back Up Running Back

The Oakland Raiders haven't had to worry about their back up running back position for a few years now. With Michael Bush, the Raiders had a complimentary bruiser to Darren McFadden's speed, and a quality back capable of being a starter when (not if) McFadden got hurt. With off season cap difficulties, the Raiders were forced to let Bush sign with the Chicago Bears.

Once it became clear that the Raiders were letting Bush walk, it was presumed that Taiwan Jones would serve as McFadden's primary back up. Jones is a second year back out of Eastern Washington. While he did not play a lot in his rookie season, the few times he did get into the game, Jones made it clear that he had elite speed at the NFL level. Jones still has a good amount of work to do before he is an elite back at the NFL level, but he has the raw talent necessary.

In order to add depth to the position, the Raiders traded offensive lineman Bruce Campbell to the Carolina Panthers for Mike Goodson. The Panthers are stacked at running back with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. As a result, Goodson did not have much of an opportunity to shine. Both Goodson and Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie hope that he will take advantage of the move and shine in Oakland. Goodson has more experience than Jones and is suited well to the zone blocking scheme that Greg Knapp is installing in Oakland.

This will be a tough battle, and all three backs will see action during the season, but I expect Goodson to become the primary back up to McFadden. He is more polished than Jones and should excel in the zone blocking scheme. However, Goodson has a history of fumbling. Even if he does win the back up role, he could very well lose it during the season if he has problems hanging onto the ball.

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