There’s no doubt the Las Vegas Raiders need to fix their defense. On the other hand, they also need to bolster an offensive line that was marred by injuries in 2020. They trust offensive line coach Tom Cable will get the unit over the hump and find the right combination in the process.
Paul Gutierrez of ESPN recently wrote about the Raiders’ offensive line and how the group may look in 2021. He discusses the challenges Cable will face and breaks down a few potential lineups. He sees left tackle Kolton Miller and left guard Richie Incognito as surefire starters. Nevertheless, he’s less certain about the center, right guard, and right tackle position.
Gutierrez believes Andre James has the upper hand over veteran Nick Martin at center. He foresees Denzelle Good seizing the right guard job but thinks the Raiders could use an upgrade at right tackle, as incumbent Brandon Parker has underperformed over his three-year career. In fact, he suggests this Las Vegas team use the 17th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft on an offensive tackle prospect such as Christian Darrisaw, Teven Jenkins, or Alijah Vera-Tucker.
Last year, Cable did as much as he could with the players he had. It looks like he will have a better hand in 2020. He’s responsible for turning Miller from a liability to a top 15 left tackle. If he can help James and a rookie right tackle reach that kind of growth, the Raiders’ offensive line should be in good shape in 2021.
The Raiders’ O-Line could be better in 2021 if they avoid injuries
Injuries are an inherent part of the game of football and teams have to always prepare to the best of their capacities. Nevertheless, there’s a point where lesions are just too much to overcome. That’s exactly what happened to the Raiders’ offensive line last season. Gutierrez rightfully points out that the projected lineup only played THREE snaps together in the whole season. A calf injury and other health issues limited Trent Brown to five games last season. Also, Las Vegas lost Incognito in Week 2 and Cable had to make chicken salad with what he had. They shuffled Good around and had him play tackle and guard.
If Incognito can stay healthy and they find a good right tackle in the draft, this year’s group could be better than its 2020 counterpart. Brown is one of the better offensive tackles in the NFL but wasn’t around much last season. Incognito was also a top guard in 2019 and even if he isn’t as good as he was that season, his presence should make a difference in the lineup.
While the Raiders’ current offensive line group is far from optimal, it has the potential to be a solid group. The team should hold realistic expectations. However, don’t be surprised if Cable does his best job ever and the unit overachieves in 2021.
You May Also Like: Who Are Worst Raiders First-Round Picks of All Time
Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal