With the 2021 NFL draft now in the rearview mirror, several teams feel their rosters are all but set for training camp (or at least that’s what organizational brass will tell you). The Las Vegas Raiders are on that list of roster-confident franchises, but there are a few remaining free agents that may benefit Gruden’s Grinders in the upcoming season.
So, who’s still out there for the Raiders?
Mitchell Schwartz, OT
Is there a more endearing family in the eyes of Raider Nation than the Schwartz Bunch? Let’s put the obnoxious social media antics of his brother aside for a moment. Mitchell Schwartz is still on the market after missing most of the 2020 season with a back injury. The former Kansas City Chiefs’ tackle has gotten surgery and stated he will be healthy in time for the upcoming league year.
While there’s no guarantee Schwartz will be the same player that won a Super Bowl protecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes, he could be an insurance policy if rookie Alex Leatherwood struggles. Contrary to popular media belief, the Raiders have a lot of quality and interchangeable pieces on the offensive line. However, this can be a detriment as much as a strength. Having guards that can swing out to tackle when need be is lovely, but never ideal. Lord knows I’d love to rely on Brandon Parker at any point in time, how about bringing in a veteran with a winning pedigree to hold down the reserve spot.
Trai Turner, OG
Speaking of guard play, this may seem like a position that isn’t in need of addressing. In all honesty, this addition would be a total luxury for the Silver and Black. What happens if the returning Richie Incognito can’t come back from the Achilles injury that shelved him in 2020? What if Alex Leatherwood struggles early at right tackle, forcing the versatile guard Denzelle Good to the outside? John Simpson had some inspiring play in his rookie season, but if the Super Bowl taught us anything, good reserve linemen are very underrated. Trai Turner isn’t moving the needle for a lot of teams as a starter, but perhaps, Tom Cable can help revive the skills of the former Carolina Panther.
Alshon Jeffery, WR
Stop me if you’ve heard this before; Big-bodied wide receivers are quarterback Derek Carr’s best friend. After winning a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles, Jeffery suffered from a few injury-plagued seasons, leading to his release this offseason. Outside of Bryan Edwards, there isn’t another option that provides the dimension of the former South Carolina product. One could easily say Darren Waller fills the role Jeffery would be considered for. However, we’ve yet to see consistent targets for ’83’ in the red zone. It’s not hard to imagine the fade routes Jon Gruden would dial-up with ’17’ at his disposal.
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*Top Photo: Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group