The no-longer Oakland Raiders will be the Las Vegas Raiders going into 2020. As the resident Raiders fan at All NFL Draft 365, I’m here to fix them. They faced many issues this season, starting with a big puzzle piece on offense they were missing in WR Antonio Brown and his saga of issues. He was supposed to be QB Derek Carr’s main weapon and go-to receiver. During the home-opener, they lost hard-hitting rookie Safety Johnathan Abram to a shoulder injury for the season, dealing another huge blow to a young team. In week 3, they lost their MLB Vontaze Burfict to a season-long suspension.
They were able to put some wins together after the most travelled mileage in NFL history and were 6-4 going into December football. They had an opportunity to play for a wildcard spot, but just ran out of gas. They lost more key players to injury, faced bad QB play, and bad play-calling from Head Coach Jon Gruden in the second half of games seemed to seal their fate. We knew from the start on how bad this season was going to be.
Moving forward, I believe Carr will be the quarterback for the 2020 Las Vegas Raiders. At the moment there isn’t a better option than him, especially where the Raiders will he selecting in this draft. He is a player that needs things around him to be better. He can’t make things happen when things aren’t in order. They need to get him a true number one receiver. They should address that early in the 2020 NFL Draft. Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb will be the man to play opposite of Tyrell Williams.
They have a top-7 running back with rookie Josh Jacobs. They will have to re-sign G Richie Incognito to keep their offensive line stable. I will also address another bigger running back through Free Agency or the Draft to take the load off Jacobs.
Even with their offensive flaws, the Raiders biggest issues were on the defensive side of the ball. They had a few flashes and were able to get off the field, but they could never really put it together. They got excellent play from rookie DE Maxx Crosby. He was their best defensive player all year. The other player who showed flashes was S Karl Joseph, he finally became the playmaker he was drafted to be a few years ago.
In the middle of the season, they traded former first round pick Gareon Conley to the Texans. The man they asked to fill in his shoes was rookie CB Travyon Mullen, a second round pick this year. He made the most of his playing time and got better every game. The best game he showed on film was against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The biggest weak point on this defense was their linebacker play. Losing Burfict really made a difference, because it asked Nicholas Morrow to play more and Tahir Whitehead to play out of position, who struggles to cover today’s running backs and tight ends. They desperately need to attack the draft for linebackers.
Fourth overall pick in the 2019 Draft, DE Clellin Ferrell will improve in his second year, however the coaching staff asked him to play defensive tackle, and seemed to hurt his development to start his NFL career. Next season, fellow first round pick Abram will be back to show the impact he will have on the defense.
Drafting another impact player like Alabama LB Dylan Moses will make this defense younger, quicker, and more aggressive. Moses suffered an ACL injury during fall camp, but he will be ready to go for the season-opener. Moses is a difference maker as a linebacker. He can fill in the gap, can cover TE’s and RB’s.
Addressing free agency on defense, CB Byron Jones is an upgrade to CB Daryl Worley who played average for the Raiders. Jones is a top-tier CB in the NFL and he will improve the secondary from the start. Adding S Justin Simmons is also key, as he will be another playmaker in the secondary. He is also an upgrade over Joseph. This defense will be able to have a good mixture of youth and experience.
This team is headed in the right direction, and they will be a team to be reckoned with in the AFC for many years moving forward.
Below is an outlined blueprint of some of the key moves the Raiders should make this offseason to continue their success in building a roster that can compete with the best in the league next season. There is also a projected depth chart for the Raiders going into next season with these moves included.
WR Ceedee Lamb
LB Dylan Moses
G Shane Lemieux
CB Byron Jones
S Justin Simmons
DT Leonard Williams
QB: D. Carr, D. Kizer
RB: J. Jacobs, P. Barber, J. Richard
FB: A. Ingold
WR: C. Lamb, H. Renfrow, M. Ateman
WR: T. Willliams, Z. Jones, D. Harris
TE: D. Waller, F. Moreau, D. Carrier
LT: K. Miller, D. Sharpe
LG: R. Incognito, S. Lemieux
C: R. Hudson, A. James
RG: G. Jackson
RT: T. Brown, B. Parker
DE: C. Ferrell, D. Jordan, A. Key
DT: L. Williams, J. Hankins
DT: M. Hurst, P. Hall, J. Mauro
DE: M. Crosby, C. Nassib
LB: T. Whitehead, M. Lee, K. Wilber
MLB: V. Burfict, W. Compton
LB: D. Moses, N. Morrow
CB: T. Mullen, K. Nixon
CB: B. Jones, I. Johnson
NB: L. Joyner
FS: J. Abram, E. Harris
SS: J. Simmons, J. Kearse
K: D. Carlson
P: T. Cole
LS: T. Sieg
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