So far, the Las Vegas Raiders have done an efficient job at drafting. They’ll have to continue to do so if they plan on catching up to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Silver and Black’s biggest adversary are the Chiefs, they are after all the NFL’s current gold standard. Earlier this week, they made sure to lock up their franchise quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, to a ten-year extension that could be worth up to $503 million per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Assuming the organization continues to surround him with solid talent, the Chiefs aren’t going anywhere. This means the pressure is on Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden to continue drafting well.
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Raiders Are Trying To Close The Gap
Josh Schrock of NBC Sports recently underlined the urgency for the Raiders to continue rebuilding while trying to close the gap with the Chiefs.
Some might get impatient when seeing a five-game gap between the two teams last season. With last year’s 40-9 embarrassment at Arrowhead Stadium still lingering in the back of the mind, it’s easy to push for more drastic moves that could help close the gap on Mahomes and the Chiefs sooner. But Mahomes isn’t going anywhere, not for a long time, and that means the Raiders must avoid the usual rebuilding pitfalls as they construct Gruden and Mayock’s vision.
Give credit where it’s due. Mayock so far has been able to land key pieces that figure to contribute for the next decade. One of those pieces is a potential franchise running back: Josh Jacobs. He’s the kind of player the Raiders hadn’t had in ages. Also, he added an awesome band of wide receivers, Hunter Renfrow, Henry Ruggs III, and Bryan Edwards to help quarterback Derek Carr. Although Carr gets his fair share of criticism, it’s actually his play and presence that’s allowed the Raiders to stay on course. Having the luxury of an above-average signal-caller has helped by allowing Raiders brass to fill other key positions. By definition, pretty much all of the Raiders offensive positions are talented, and yet, they still lack behind the Chiefs.
Third Year Or Bust?
“Entering Year 3 in Gruden’s system, the Raiders have given Carr a whole new arsenal of weapons and signed Marcus Mariota to push Carr to new heights or take the reins should Carr stumble. The 2020 season will be a prove-it year for Carr and he’s set up to have a career year.”
Going into Carr’s third year under Gruden’s offense will be the apex of the Raiders’ experiment. If Carr can’t lead this team to a playoff appearance at the very least, is he truly the answer? It’s a question that many want answered while Carr apologists continue to make excuses for why it’s not the case. What’s not debatable is that Mahomes earned that contract extension with his play. Here’s the thing, and many won’t want to hear this, if Carr does indeed falter, not all is lost. If somehow that’s the case, the Raiders have a power running game in place, a slew of receivers, a reliable tight end, and a monstrous offensive line. All that would be missing is someone to rival Mahomes and truly challenge the Chiefs. Once that happens, the Raiders will be able to take over the division.
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*Top Photo: Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports