Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images
The Raiders have clearly turned the page from their dysfunctional 2018 season. They have gone about their offseason in an aggressive, win-now mindset that has propelled them on the cusp of competing for the division. The front office of Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock connection seems to have gone well so far, as they have been one of the busiest teams during free agency.
Before free agency kicked off, Gruden and Mayock acquired WR Antonio Brown, in exchange for a third and fifth-round pick. Shortly after, they signed OT Trent Brown, making him the highest paid offensive tackle in NFL history. The Raiders stayed on the offensive side of the ball, by signing WR Tyrell Williams and WR J.J Nelson. Defensively, they have signed S Lamarcus Joyner, LB Vontaze Burfict and DE Josh Mauro.
The Raiders have addressed both sides of the ball, but still have way more holes on defense. They do hold possession of four draft picks within the first 35 draft selections, so they will look to draft four NFL starters with those picks. Those picks are expected to be defensive driven, to help uplift Paul Guenther’s defense.
It’s perfectly clear that Gruden is an offensive coach, but it’s also clear that the Raiders defense is still a ways away from being complete. Since the Khalil Mack trade went down, the Raiders have had no answer to generate a pass rush.
The biggest hole on the roster is still an impact edge rusher, who can get after the quarterback. The Raiders ranked dead last in sacking the quarterback last season, and they haven’t done anything to change that narrative. Suitable options to fill that role through the draft are Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, University of Kentucky’s Josh Allen and University of Michigan’s Rashan Gary.
Another need on defense for the silver and black is an every down linebacker, that can go sideline-to-sideline. The Raiders have been missing a fierce linebacker to patrol the middle of the field for almost a decade now. Players to target in the draft are Louisiana State’s Devin White, University of Michigan’s Devin Bush and Alabama’s Mack Wilson.
With today’s NFL being such a passing league, teams need more than two corner backs that can cover the opposing team’s recivers. The Raiders currently have Gareon Conely and Daryl Worley who are the two staring corner backs. Though, they could use another corner back to complement the defensive back group. Corner backs to target in this year’s draft class are Louisiana State’s Greedy Williams, University of Washington’s Byron Murphy and University of Georgia’s Deandre Baker.
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