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Raiders add versatile backup RB Roy Helu

As the Oakland Raiders pursued the defending NFL rushing yards king in free agency, they added a valuable backup in the form of Roy Helu.

The Bay Area native, who played in college at Nebraska, will be a backup regardless if DeMarco Murray is in Oakland or if the starter is young Latavius Murray. While he didn’t get a ton of carries in Washington, Helu was effective.

He had 42 catches and a total of 82 touches last season. He has 255 carries and 129 receptions in his career. The Raiders need a receiving option out of the backfield in their new scheme that will often feature the no-huddle offense.

Helu will likely be used on screens quite a bit. He has good shiftiness. Oakland’s running back group is changing. If DeMarco Murray isn’t signed, Latavius Murray will be the starter. Maurice Jones-Drew retired and Darren McFadden is not expected back.

ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported that new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave will not use a fullback this year and Marcel Reece will be more of an H-back. I can see some creative opportunities for Helu and Reece. However, because they will both be secondary options, they may compete for touches.

Still, the options will only benefit Oakland’s offense.

Meanwhile, Darrelle Revis signed with the Jets for big money. The Raiders were interested, but they were never considered a big player for the big prize.

Despite some early interest, the Raiders are not in on safety Ron Parker. Oakland does need help at safety.