NAPA _ Running back DeAndre Washington had solid day Sunday on the first padded practice of training camp for the Raiders.
Washington, a fifth-round pick out of Texas Tech, had some nice inside runs, broke his biggest play on a screen pass from Matt McGloin and was fielding punts in the No. 2 position, right behind third-year player TJ Carrie.
In a manner similar to Maurice Jones-Drew, who had his biggest seasons with Jacksonville under Jack Del Rio, the 5-foot-8, 204-pound Washington sees his height as a positive rather than a negative.
“Being a smaller guy works in my favor,” Washington said. “Being behind those big guys, especially when you put those pads on, it makes it kind of hard to see me. It’s definitely a good feeling when I can hide and do my thing behind those guys.”
At the NFL scouting combine, Washington said he talked with Jones-Drew and got some valuable advice.
Washington gained 1,492 yards on 233 carries at Texas Tech, averaging 6.4 yards per attempt with 14 touchdowns, and also caught 41 passes 385 yards and two scores in his senior year.
His career showed a steady progression, each year better than the one that preceded it.
With the Raiders, the hope is Washington teams with Latavius Murray for an additional running threat. Quarterback Derek Carr was the second-leading rusher on the NFL’s 28th-ranked running game a year ago.
“We both bring different skill sets to the table, so I think it makes it a little bit harder to game plan for opposing teams,” Washington said. “I’m looking forward to working with him and making plays with him.”
Washington looked comfortable fielding booming punts against Marquette King, although there were no coverage units chasing him at the time. Washington said he had experience with punt returns in college, although not as much in the latter two years as his role as a running back increased.
However, his college stats show only one punt return for zero yards in 2011, with seven kickoff returns that same freshman year for 131 yards.
Regardless, it doesn’t matter to Washington how he’s utilized as long as he gets the ball in his hands.
“I just want to showcase my versatility, whether it’s offense or special teams, wherever they need me,” Washington said. “It’s been fun bouncing around a little bit.”