Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/19/14
With their top two running backs both plagued by high ankle sprains, the Raiders will need someone to depend on against the Ravens on Sunday. If Marcel Reece can prove to be reliable, he could have the breakout performance he’s been hinting at for the past three years. Reece is finally set to have a major role in Oakland’s offense with Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson likely out against the Ravens on Sunday. Reece and second-year player Taiwan Jones will be sharing the starting halfback role. Halfback is one role the fifth-year player doesn’t have a lot of experience in. The Raiders’ 6-foot-1, 255-pound fullback went undrafted out of the University of Washington in 2008. He was a 6-foot-1, 240-pound wide receiver then, who flashed at times in college, but couldn’t consistently help his 4-9 offense get out of the depths of the then Pac 10. Reece ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the Huskies’ pro day after not being invited to the NFL Scouting Combine — an impressive time for any athlete, but especially notable for a player his size. Despite Reece’s otherworldly athleticism and inconsistent, but still impressive highlight plays with the Huskies, no team could find a place to draft him in 256 picks in the 2008 NFL draft. The problem wasn’t his speed, but more his size. The NFL couldn’t decide if he was a too-big wide receiver, a too-small tight end, or a too-inexperienced fullback. Reece went down the road to work out for the Seahawks at the time, and their team president Tim Ruskell had some not-too flattering things to say. “Marcel had some big plays for the Huskies; the consistency factor just wasn’t there,” Ruskell told the Seattle PI in 2008. “So we have to look at: OK, why does that happen? If it doesn’t go well for him on draft day, it’s going to be the consistency issue. Because he hits a lot of the markers you look for.” It’s no surprise then, that Reece had one of his best inconsistent days of his career against Seattle back in 2010. On Halloween in Oakland — playing the team he once tried out for, but wasn’t good enough — the Raider had the game of his career. It was his only game with 100 total yards as he ran for 32 yards on two carries and caught three passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. Reece’s biggest strengths come in catching the ball out of the backfield. When the former-Husky has an open field in front of him, he can build up his downhill speed and barrel through defenders with his 255-pound frame. He’s not an experienced ball carrier, but a career 4.9 yard per carry average suggests he could be successful in the role. He’s a one-cut back who won’t dazzle with jukes or spin moves. Reece’s hands have been a constant in his short career. He hasn’t dropped a pass since 2010, and he has just three drops his entire career. When the ball is thrown his way, and it’s on the mark, he’s bringing it in. Reece is an above average blocker, especially since he had very little experience in the role before coming to the pros. The matchup nightmare was known for the big play in college — he spent two years at junior colleges before transferring to the Huskies. In 43 college games, he caught 120 passes for 2,866 yards and 29 touchdowns — a 23.9 yards per reception average. So why hasn’t Oakland given the fan favorite a bigger role? Well, it’s probably the same reason that Oakland can’t keep a head coach and hasn’t had a winning record since Rich Gannon was under center.  That, and given Reece’s role as a fullback, his biggest opportunities typically come on dump offs and check downs. Reece may not be your typical every-down back in the NFL, nor will he probably ever have that role. But he’s finally getting the bigger role that he’s deserved for three years now, and if he can finally achieve the consistency that the Seahawks didn’t see in him, he could be a breakout star four years into his NFL career. Watch some of Reece’s best career highlights in the video below.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rex Ryan: Seahawks need to ‘take the air out of the football’

J.J. Watt buys cabin in the middle of nowhere to train

Six teams have done background work on Adrian Peterson

NBA set to earn $700M through streaming deal in China

Wade Phillips is the best coordinator hire this offseason

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bill Belichick gives understated scouting report of Tom Brady

Five teams that failed to improve this offseason

Steelers fans were more profane on social media

Seahawks praise Tom Brady's trash-talking ability

Richard Sherman's girlfriend talks possible Super Bowl baby

DeMarco Murray: I don't pay attention to being replaced

Could Katy Perry and Russell Wilson be dating?

The Media isn't the villain we deserve, but it's the one we need

Are LeBron and the Cavs ready to make a run?

The Super Bowl and the things that can't be controlled

DeMarcus Cousins calls out writer for five-year-old tweet

What if Drew Bledsoe didn't get injured in 2001?

Who should make up the 2015 Hall of Fame class

WATCH: Porn sounds played during Predators broadcast

Five worst teams to win a Super Bowl

Matt Damon, Ben Affleck defend Patriots on Kimmel

Watch: John Oliver tackles the Super Bowl

The Washington Redskins and their forgotten dynasty

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Katy Perry, Russell Wilson dating?

Rex Ryan has advice for Seahawks

Super Bowl: Things you can't control

LeBron and the Cavs are ready to make a run

Cousins calls out writer's old tweet

Seahawks praise Brady's trash-talk

Who should be in 2015 HOF class

Five potential Super Bowl XLIX heroes

Rex Ryan downplays Deflategate

Brady hopes Manning comes back

The worst Super Bowl commercials of all-time

SB anthem, halftime performers through the years

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.