The last couple of weeks have not been very kind to the Oakland Raiders in regard toÂ the team’s left guard position.
On the 12th, the NFL announced that Richie Incognito is suspended for the first two games of the season. Two weeks later, the team announced Denzelle Good is out for two months after having back surgery. The signing of Jonathan Cooper suggests the team was aware of Incognito and Good’s situations before they were made public, but it’s not exactly a welcomed start to the season. Since Incognito and Good are perceived as Oakland’s top two options, this begs the question: who will fill in at left guard until week three?
As mentioned above, the Raiders recently added Cooper to the roster. The former first-round pick has become a NFL journeyman, as Oakland will be his seventh team in five seasons. Â On a brighter note, Cooper has never given up more than two sacks in one season and has plenty of experience, which should make him the favorite to start weeks one and two. Hopefully, the former All-American can put it together for the Silver and Black.
It’s not very often that an undrafted free agent has a chance to start week one in his rookie year, however this is a realistic possibility for Cotton. In terms of protecting quarterback Derek Carr, the University of Alabama product might be the Raiders best option at guard. Cotton only allowed one sack in four years at Bama. During his best season in 2017, he posted the third highest pass blocking efficiency rating in the SEC according to Pro Football Focus (minimum 157 snaps). Additionally, it may help fellow rookie Josh Jacobs make smoother transition to the NFL to run behind a familiar face (or backside).
Related: Is Lester Cotton a potential starter?
The Raiders signed the former Kansas City Chief for situations exactly like this one. With backup offensive lineman, the more positions they play, the better and Devey has experience playing all three interior offensive line positions. While it is a relatively small sample size (only 204 snaps), the versatile offensive lineman has only allowed seven pressures in his last three seasons. The 31-year-old veteran could be the perfect guy to bridge the gap between the season opener and week three.
While Parker’s natural position is at tackle, during OTAs, the team began flirting with idea of kicking him inside to guard. With team making tackle Trent Brown the richest offensive lineman in NFL history, it would behoove Parker to find his niche at guard. Last year’s third-round pick has a chance to hit the reset button and re-brand himself, almost as if last year never happened. The question is: Will Brandon Parker take advantage of the opportunity in front of him?
Listen to the Fly Sweep Podcast as Kris Wysong joins the crew to discuss this topic (10:00-19:10), who benefits from the extra reps Antonio Browns’ injury creates (1:37-9:58), Mike Mayock’s comments on Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall (19:17-25:40) and wrap up with what we look for in a stadium (25:45-end). Twitter: @SweepFly @Jsanc_21 @MHolder95 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org