Roy Helu, RB Oakland Raiders
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Latavius Murray only has 82 professional carries, but he’s inspired great confidence in the Raiders coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, for one, has become a fan over the last six months. They’ve seen the tools required for success during the offseason program and the preseason. Murray doesn’t need many game reps to validate those sentiments, cemented by the third-year pro’s willingness to work on becoming a well-rounded back.
"He’s made very positive impressions,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said after Thursday’s practice. “He has been working a lot on his hands so he can be a good receiver out of the backfield, because we don’t want a guy that’s going to be a liability when we go to throw the ball. He’s really been working on that. Of course, he’s got the body and the ability to really be a good player at this level.”
Murray has found a way to turn small opportunities into big gains, by bouncing into a new rushing lane at as moments notice.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if those cuts are directly correlated to his vision,” Musgrave said. “He’s got great vision. Not just because he’s tall, even if he was 5-8. I think he’d have really good vision. He can anticipate things and jump through those cracks, almost before they open.”
On Roy Helu Jr.: “Roy brings a lot of experience. He’s had a lot of production there with the Redskins, and so glad to have him back out healthy. He’s been out a couple days. Hopefully, he can stay healthy.
“If he stays healthy. If he is available, we’re very willing to give him his opportunities (to be more than a third-down back).”
Murray rushed 82 times for 424 yards (a 5.2 YPC) and two touchdowns, including an incredible four-carry, 112-yard, two-TD performance against the Chiefs in Week 12. He still averaged a solid (if unspectacular) 4.0 YPC when that game is excluded. With good size (6'2, 223 lbs) and great speed (4.38 40-yard dash), Murray has all the physical tools to succeed at the position. He even showed solid hands with 17 receptions on 23 targets. According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan, a Raiders source said that Murray is “freak” and has a chance to have “a huge year” in 2015. Helu may eat into Murray's third-down work, so don't expect Murray to be a three-down back.
Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.