- Tarrian Rodgers
Undrafted Dual for Raiders third running back spot
We hear that old adage year after year how pre-season doesn’t matter. For fans there may be 1,000 different things we may want to do than watch a bunch of third stringers play. However, for undrafted rookies and late first round picks starving to make the roster, a strong preseason can go a long way in accomplishing a lifelong dream about playing on Sundays.
For the Raiders they have always done a great job finding undrafted gems that make the roster. Guys like Jalen Richard, Nicholas Morrow and Alec Ingold come to mind. This season will certainly be no different.
After the first preseason game and long training camp there seems to be a true buzz around two undrafted rookie free agent running backs Trey Ragas and BJ Emmons. Both men find themselves with an amazing opportunity to win the third running back job as the normal person that held that position Jalen Richard remains out indefinitely with a foot injury.
Ragas may have the inside track in the position battle as he led the game in rushing yards, racking up over 60 yards on 13 carries, including a touchdown, but he also hauled in three passes for 20 yards. While rushing and receiving yards are great, the thing that is going to turn heads in terms of the coaching staff was his ability to pick up the blitz, which he did an outstanding job of doing.
“How about that?” Jon Gruden said of the performance. “Ragas didn’t know how to get in a three-point stance when he got here. No one’s come farther in a shorter period of time than him. He made some really good runs, he caught the ball, he picked up the blitz. Jalen Richard goes down and another man gets an opportunity.
Ragas came to the Raiders as an undrafted rookie. He played at Louisiana, seeing action in 49 games and rushing for 3,572 career yards on 596 carries (6.0 avg). A four-time All-Sun Belt Conference performer.
As far as BJ Emmons it was a bittersweet performance for him as he played against a Seahawks team that initially signed him. Emmons led the game in yards per carry with 5.0 and added 45 yards on 9 carries and a touchdown. Emmons comes in a bit more harraled than Ragas due to his five star rating in high school and being a former Alabama running back before transferring to Florida Atlantic.
“This Emmons kid, he went to Alabama. Jacobs is like his agent because Josh knew him in Tuscaloosa. And he says, ‘you better get a good look at this guy’ and boy did we get a look at him tonight,” Gruden continued. “He’s big, he’s fast, he’s elusive. And he’s got no mileage on him. He’s an unknown. He’s off to a good start also and next week is another week.”
These two backs made a strong name for themselves and most importantly they showed some pop near the red zone, an area where Raiders have struggled in recent years. So having a big battering ram type back may help. The battle for the Raiders third running back position will certainly be the newest discussion in Raiders camp.