Raiders Blog

Raiders roster will likely see defensive turnover

2019 wasn’t a total loss for the Las Vegas Raiders. There were several bright spots, such as the solid rookie class and how they seemed to click as a unit towards the end of the year. However, there were also some bumps on the road and with the season behind them, let’s take a closer look at their 2020 outlook.

As we dive deep into the roster, here’s a recap of the breakdown the Raider Ramble did of each position.

Moving Up or Moving On? Recounting previous volumes

Offensive Recap and Outlook

Get ready for another offseason of quarterback controversy and speculation. I’m not biting yet, as Derek Carr and DeShone Kizer are under contract. Nathan Peterman can be re-signed, but the Raiders could tap into free agency or even the draft to add depth. Mike Glennon should be out, I don’t see why they would bring him back. I also don’t see them reaching high in the draft as Kizer is a man general manager Mike Mayock had high praise for coming out of college. Kizer is 23 and started one year for a horrible Browns team. He then sat for a year behind Aaron Rodgers, and spent last year behind Carr in Jon Gruden’s system. Until I see otherwise, I’m riding with Carr and Kizer as the Raiders main signal-callers.

Running backs were the best and most consistent unit on the offense this past season. Josh Jacobs and Alec Ingold are the RB/FB tandem I expect to see for the long haul. Jacobs, as marvelous as he is, can’t carry the full load on his own and needs a complimentary piece to ease the workload. Deandre Washington filled in nicely but could walk for a bigger role elsewhere. It would be nice to see Isaiah Crowell actually play in Silver and Black, but who knows what his condition is after his injury last year. Jalen Richard could be brought back, but they can easily replace him in free agency or the draft.

Related: Raiders could learn a couple things from Super Bowl teams

Dysfunction Anyone?

The wide receiver corps was easily the most dysfunctional group in the Raiders offense. This unit was shuffled and bounced around like a stripper at a bachelor party. They left a lot to be desired. Hunter Renfrow is probably the only wide out who’s guaranteed a spot going forward, but I expect them to bring back Tyrell Williams, Rico Gafford and maybe a couple others for depth. Make no mistake though, the lack of depth will be addressed in the draft, and/or free agency. I just can’t get that image out of my head against the Jaguars: Carr throws a hail-mary to the end zone, Marcell Ateman and Keelan Doss are there, Ateman jumps, hands wide open over Doss, the ball goes through his arms and hits Doss in the helmet. Doss, looking at the ball, tries to catch it but his arms are about 2-3 feet too short… as he got hit in the head!

Tight ends are the only group that can contend with the running backs for the most consistent offensive unit. Darren Waller and Foster Moreau are in it for the long haul too. They could easily become the best tight end tandem in the league in Jon Gruden’s offense. Then there is Derek Carrier who is on his last year and will either fight for a spot or be traded for a draft pick.

Still a top unit in the league, the offensive line was depleted most of the year with players getting banged up all season. They held their own though and still remained a top unit, credit to Tom Cable here. The majority of the line is locked in but Gabe Jackson is due more than he has earned and could be the sacrificial lamb. Even without him, Kolton Miller, Richie Incognito, Rodney Hudson, and Trent Brown can squeeze anyone in that right guard role and be fine. Denzelle Good was given an extension and may be his spot to lose unless Jackson restructures.

Defensive Recap and Outlook

The most consistent unit on the defensive side of the ball was the edge, Maxx Crosby has been a stud, Benson Mayowa was balling out, and Clelin Ferrell got better as the season progressed. In the middle, Maurice Hurst has been an animal, P.J. Hall has held his own, and Johnathan Hankins has been a wall. I can see depth added here for rotational purposes, but this unit is young enough to not need much addressing.

Were they misused, or just under qualified? On paper, the Raiders have decent to good linebackers but in reality, they seem to be used in coverage when that’s not their strenght. I expect at least 3-4 new faces next season and Paul Guenther has mentioned numerous times that he likes to use safeties here too, so expect some of them mixed in. With Rod Marinelli on the staff now, Guenther’s window of opportunity is closing.

The secondary has shown promise in a few spots but it too has been plagued with injuries and misused personnel in my eyes. I expect a few pieces added here to help young players such as Trayvon Mullen and Johnathan Abram. Lamarcus Joyner is under contract and should return in a more fitting role, and Darryl Worley may be brought back to add more veteran leadership to them, but the guys to really watch are Mullen, Abram and Isaiah Johnson who had his rookie tenure cut short.

You may also like: Raiders in Review: Maurice Hurst

Special Teams

It is evident Gruden doesn’t trust Daniel Carlson, whom I expect to return, but he should be fighting for his job. Punter and long snapper, on the other hand, have been efficient enough to not have to worry about competition, they just need to get in better sync with each other.

Final Words

I’m excited about next season, and the first ever NFL team in Las Vegas: The Raiders. One more solid draft paired with a solid free agency period could be all this team needs to get over the hump. Unfortunately, we have a few more months until those come around, so we will continue to see all the possible scenarios and probably hear 20 different quarterbacks and wide receivers that are going to start for Raiders next season. C’est La Vie, such is the season for the reason.

In case you missed it: Did QB Tom Brady troll Raider Nation?

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