Raiders showing interest in 3 RBs ahead of 2024 NFL Draft, per reports

While running back is not high on the Las Vegas Raiders’ list of needs going into the 2024 NFL Draft, the team is reportedly still doing its due diligence on some of the prospects at the position.

According to Justin Melo of The Draft Network, Las Vegas has recently expressed interest in USC running back Austin Jones. Melo noted it was “follow-up interest” after the Raiders hosted Jones at their Local Pro Day.

Along with Jones, the Raiders have had 30 visits with UCLA running back Carson Steele, also per Melo, and Missouri rusher Cody Schrader, according to Tristen Kuhn of TWSN.

More information on Schrader, per Lance Zierlein of NFL.com:

Ornery and competitive, Schrader’s story arc reads like a Hollywood movie. The sixth-year senior dominated at Truman State before walking on at Missouri and showing he could shine against SEC competition. He’s a stocky short-strider lacking ideal explosiveness but is still a successful outside-zone back due to his vision, decisiveness and fearlessness through the line. He’s a volume back more likely to wear a defense down rather than gash them with chunk runs and is a capable pass protector against the blitz. Teams need to weigh the heavy production against average physical tools, but he appears to have a decent shot of becoming an RB2/3 with three-down ability.

More info on Steele, per Ian Valentino of Pro Football Network:

We don’t often see running backs like Steele. He’s crafty, strong, can take a hit, and keep moving. He has some short-area burst and agility, but he’s also mastered the nuance of being a running back.

The question is how athletic he is compared to starting NFL backs. He’ll have an NFL role because he continues chugging ahead, and his large frame bodes well for his ability to play all three downs. But will his contact balance and subtle cuts be enough to overcome otherwise middling explosiveness?

And, last but not least, more intel on Jones, according to PFN’s Valentino:

It’s not a great time to be a running back who isn’t one of the very elite athletes in the NFL. A rotational backup rusher’s career depends highly on being in the right scheme, staying healthy, and maximizing opportunities.

Jones has some physical limitations concerning his overall upside, but he’s played well as both a workhorse and a backup throughout his career. That bodes well for him earning consideration as a late-round pick or undrafted free agent.

The Raiders currently have running backs Zamir White and Alexander Mattison atop the depth chart, but White only has four starts under his belt and Mattison is coming off a very disappointing season in what was his first attempt at being a starter.

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Las Vegas still figures to be just fine with that duo, but it wouldn’t hurt to add more depth options, something the Raiders could do late in the draft or with a signing of an undrafted player afterwards.

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