Last Sunday was another dreadful loss for Raider Nation which marks the third week in a row that the Oakland Raiders failed to get a win and silence the critics. The offensive line especially has come under some stern criticism in terms of run-blocking efficiency as the run game as a whole has been lacking a great deal in performance.
This being said, the Raiders did see some life injected into the run game last Sunday due to the addition of right guard Jon Feliciano. Mainly a special teams player, Feliciano has made a case to why he deserves to see some more snaps on offense, in particular, to the run game. Not many teams in the NFL have a guy that can come in and perform efficiently especially when it comes to the offensive line. Feliciano gives the Raiders that luxury and by the end of this article Raiders fans should be feeling more appreciative of what this linemen brings to this offense.
Feliciano was drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft in the 4th Round by the Oakland Raiders, though he wasn’t a highly touted draft prospect coming out of college due to his “lack of athleticism” and “technique”. However, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and offensive line coach Mike Tice saw enough to take him in the 4th round, regardless, to develop him into the big, physical guard that he is today. Feliciano has played in 27 Games and has started four in his career mainly as a right guard but also serves as the backup center to current Raiders center Rodney Hudson.
Feliciano Earns a Start
Last Sunday the Raiders announced that current right guard Gabe Jackson was out due to a foot injury that had been nagging him throughout the week. This meant that Feliciano would be the next man up and would be the starter at right guard against the Baltimore Ravens. He stepped in and did a solid job for the Raiders and according to PFF, he earned a 87.3 grade overall with an 86.9 grade in run blocking and also allowed 0 pressures in 30 pass blocking snaps. To put this in even bigger perspective, Feliciano was the second highest graded guard in the NFL for Week 5. This alone is astonishing considering the Ravens are considered a top 5 defense in the NFL. Current Raiders right guard Gabe Jackson has been struggling in run blocking efficiency with earning grades of 40 or lower. Feliciano has earned more snaps and it remains to be seen if and when Jackson comes back that Feliciano may make Gabe have to work even harder to ensure his status as a starter.
The Raiders offensive line is the engine that keeps this Carr (pun intended) running, as well as this teams playoffs and Superbowl aspirations alive. Having a backup like Feliciano who is able to step in due to injuries and keep the performance of this offensive line afloat is such a good insurance policy to have. Looking across the NFL, teams would love to be in the type of situation that the Raiders have in regards to offensive line. Just ask the Seattle Seahawks, who fail to protect their franchise quarterback weekly. As head coach Jack Del Rio says, “It starts in the trenches” and I’m glad Feliciano is on our side ready to step in at a moment’s notice and help the team win. Raider Nation should feel lucky.