The 2019 Las Vegas Raiders seemed destined for a playoff appearance, but as the season wore on, they just didn’t have the depth and talent to make that jump.
However, a masterful offseason by head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock in 2020 has the fanbase buzzing heading into the season. With no preseason and a pandemic-altered training camp, the excitement has simmered some. Don’t let that fool you though, In a few weeks, the Raiders will look like a brand new football team.
This is my preview of what to expect from the Silver and Black in 2020.
The Las Vegas Raiders Offense
Quarterback: The addition of Marcus Mariota doesn’t mean much other than the Raiders won’t have to rely on DeShone Kizer or Nathan Peterman, ever. Derek Carr had arguably his best pro season in 2019 and is not at risk of losing his job. Despite that, in his third year under Gruden’s system with an array of weapons, the quarterback needs to win. Jon Gruden seems to like him despite reports, but when the head coach’s seat gets hot he’s not going to blame himself.
Predictions: Derek Carr- 71% completion, 4400 Yards, 31 Touchdowns, 8 interceptions
Offensive Line: The Raiders had a top 3 line in 2020. The depth was good, and the starters were phenomenal. I believe this unit will still be among the best, and the addition of John Simpson gives them even more depth. Signing Trent Brown and Richie Incognito took this line to a whole other level and they look to build off of a solid campaign.
Prediction: Top 2 in sacks allowed
Running back/Fullback: Josh Jacobs had one of the best rookie seasons in team history, yet I still feel cheated. I felt like the Raiders and Jacobs left a lot of yards on the field (which I expect to change this season). The Raiders spent the offseason trying to garner depth behind Jacobs to prevent the injuries that occurred last year, and I believe they will carry four backs (Jacobs, Richard, Smith, Bowden). This won’t affect Jacbos statistically, because he will stay fresh. Also, the Raiders need to get him involved more in the passing game. At Alabama, it was one of his strengths, and I expect them to utilize it more this season
Predictions: Josh Jacobs-1,750 Total Yards, 13 total touchdowns
A New and Improved Wide Receiver Corps
Wide Receiver: 2019 was weird, there is no other way to put it. The Raiders entered the season with Ryan Grant as a starting wide receiver, which didn’t get business booming. The Antonio Brown debacle, paired with Tyrell Williams’ foot problems, caused the Raiders to back-pedal at the position all season and it caught up to them.
The Raiders entered the draft attempting to land one of the big three receivers, and when their pick came around they had their pick of the trio. Henry Ruggs III, a speedster out of Alabama. The addition of Ruggs alone would have improved this position group greatly, but pairing him with Bryan Edwards was unbelievable.
From all accounts, Edwards is dominating training camp and has the potential to be an immediate impact player for the Raiders. These two young studs, paired with Hunter Renfrow, Tyrell Williams, Zay Jones, and Nelson Agholor give the Raiders potential at the position. Something they have been starving for since Gruden arrived.
Bryan Edwards- 49 Receptions, 702 Yards, 3 touchdowns
Henry Ruggs- 60 receptions 1050 yards, 6 touchdowns
Hunter Renfrow- 70 Receptions, 875 Yards, 5 touchdowns
Tight End: The Raiders have arguably the best tight end room in football. Darren Waller is a force, and the only flaw in his game was not seeing the end-zone enough. Moreau/Carrier/Witten gives them legitimate depth and skill at the position. Witten, may not be what he used to be, but the addition gives them a Hall of Famer to help groom the youngsters at the position. I’m looking forward to seeing this group in 2020.
Predictions: Waller- 81 receptions, 1050 yards, 6 touchdowns
What about their defensive counterpart? Keep reading on the next page!