Marshawn Lynch’s injury is really bad news for the New York Giants, and it likely means the Raiders will beat them to the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
At some point, things are going to start looking up for Oakland Raiders fans. Don’t expect that turn to occur before April, though. The recent news that Marshawn Lynch may go on injured reserve due to a groin injury likely means Jon Gruden is going to head into the 2019 NFL Draft armed with the No. 1 overall selection.
The Raiders are already off to a 1-5 start with their veteran running back playing at a high level. He’s run the ball 90 times for 376 yards this year for an offense that’s struggled to move the football. Subtracting him from this floundering offense is only going to make life more difficult for Derek Carr and his teammates.
At best, Lynch will only miss a month of action due to his groin injury. Ian Rapoport also claims it’s a distinct possibility that the Raiders will put their physical back on injured reserve. That means Doug Martin should get a lot of carries for at least the next several weeks.
To put it bluntly, it’s very possible Martin no longer has what it takes to be a quality NFL running back at this stage of his career. Tampa Bay moved on from him after watching him fail to crack three yards per carry for two consecutive seasons. The Buccaneers had other weapons to take the focus off their ground game. The Raiders lack that sort of offensive diversity.
Gruden’s already gone on record that he won’t allow his team to tank in 2018, but it might be time for him to reconsider. There’s zero chance the Raiders are going to accomplish anything significant this season. The rest of this year should all be about talent evaluation for Gruden and his coaching staff.
If that happens, it’s very unlikely Gruden and company are going to win many more games. They’ve already been struggling to do that with a healthy Lynch to lean on. Subtracting him from the lineup and tilting the roster more towards youth could plunge Oakland into a lengthy losing streak.
That would be horrendous for the fan base in the short term, but it could pay off big time for the Raiders. Mainly, it would put them in a great position to land the No. 1 pick in the draft. They can use that selection to find a quarterback Gruden can believe in. Carr certainly isn’t a signal caller than inspires faith in his coaching staff.
Expect the Raiders to keep talking a big game about trying to salvage this season, but that’s just to placate a fan base desperate to compete week in and week out. Without Lynch on the field, the team’s performance is going to go from bad to worse. The only solace is that it should help the Raiders get the top pick in this year’s draft.