How good are the Las Vegas Raiders when you compare them to their peers? If you go by their 8-8 record last year, they are a middle-of-the-pack but how highly do experts think of them? If you check some of the recent post-draft power rankings, not high enough.
The Raiders look better after the draft than they did after the end of the 2020 season. Then again, most teams also improved this offseason, so it will be hard to tell how much they’ve improved.
For the time being, Dan Hanzus of NFL Media placed them at number 18. He says dunking on Las Vegas’ first-round selections has become a tradition and this year was no different. He quotes coworker Daniel Jeremiah who sees Leatherwood as an ‘interesting pick’. In the end, he thinks that as long as they hit on their picks, it doesn’t matter what others think but later adds they haven’t had much success in recent years.
Darrell Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston ranked them 20th. He likes the fact they took a more conservative approach this year after drafting three wide receivers in 2020. On the other hand, he thinks Las Vegas didn’t select enough ‘Hog Mollies’ to make up for the departure of Trent Brown, Rodney Hudson, and Gabe Jackson this offseason.
Then, there’s Matt Williamson of Pro Football Network, who ranked the Raiders even lower at 24. He believes it’s uncertain whether their offense will be better than it was last year. Moreover, he believes their defense is “still very light on talent”.
How can the Raiders improve their position in the rankings?
This one is easy, winning more than nine games would be a start. Last year, they broke even and missed the postseason for the fourth consecutive game. Last season, they had their moments, but they peaked after beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5. It’s true they were able to keep up with the Super Bowl runner-up. Nevertheless, they also lost games they should’ve won. Improving their red-zone efficiency should help and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley needs to get the most out of his unit.
If the Raiders’ offense can score more touchdowns instead of field goals and their defense improves considerably, they will get a higher position in the power rankings but more importantly, they will win more games. The pieces are there, it will be up to the team’s brass to make the most out of them.
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