The offense was easily the strength of the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020, however, by no means was it perfect. Some positions were definitely better than others, which is what will be discussed below.
The Raiders averaged 383.3 yards per game, which ranked eighth in the league, then 10th in points per game with 27.1. This still did not sit right with Jon Gruden as he decided to revamp the offensive line. That alone can make or break how the offense will perform in 2021. Newcomers like John Brown and Kenyan Drake can have an impact as well. Here is the ranking of each position group on offense.
Proven to be elite: Tight End
There honestly shouldn’t be much debate here. Darren Waller is arguably a top-three tight end in the NFL coming off of two-straight 1,000-yard seasons. He is still very young and has a shot at being All-Pro in the future. Foster Moreau is in line for some more action this year. He’s back where he belongs at the second string, Moreau has the potential to be a serious threat in the red zone similar to 2019. What makes this duo even better is that they are quality blockers as well, which Gruden will certainly emphasize for the run game. Derek Carrier will be decent if he needs to sub in for a few snaps.
Runner-up with lots of potential: Running Back
Josh Jacobs is one of the better running backs in the NFL despite having a few down numbers in 2021. Jacobs will look to have a career year with a new O-line that’s meant to cater towards the run. Drake will also look to have an impact on the Raiders as well, being a two-way running back. These two have the potential to eclipse Cleveland’s Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb as the best running back duo in the NFL. Alec Ingold is also top-tier fullback material with his excellent blocking and ability to make plays. Trey Ragas could be reliable as well, should anything happen to Jacobs or Drake. Gruden wants a strong run game and this group can deliver.
Solid but not the greatest: Quarterback
The fan base could argue about the quarterbacks till the end of time. Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota are not bad but saying they’re elite would be a stretch. Carr has certainly become more steady under Gruden with three straight 4,000-yard seasons. With how much has been changed for the run, Carr might not have as much asked of him except to not turn the ball over, especially in the fumble department. Even if Carr disappoints, Mariota will certainly jump at the opportunity to start and bring his style into the fold.
New faces, much uncertainty: Offensive Line
This was a consistent strength of the Raiders for several years. Now that Rodney Hudson, Trent Brown, and Gabe Jackson are gone, this group is much different than before. Players like Richie Incognito, Denzelle Good, and Kolton Miller have shown to be quality players but the rest is where things feel uncertain. Alex Leatherwood was drafted 17th overall to cover at right tackle but numerous people have thought that better options were on the table when the pick was made. Leatherwood has to become a force to be reckoned with for the pick to be justified. O-line coach Tom Cable has done some nice work with similar groups and will have his work cut out for him here.
Loads of potential but not a lot of proof: Wide Receiver
With Nelson Agholor walking in free agency, there are a lot of questions for this group. Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards didn’t exactly meet expectations due to several reasons including their health. Brown will look to fill in Agholor’s shoes as the veteran. The most reliable one here is Hunter Renfrow, who’s been Carr’s favorite target on third-down. This group has guys who can be key players but with how the roster’s set up, snaps might be hard to come by if you’re not a tight end or running back. There hasn’t been a 1,000-yard wide receiver since Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree in 2016.
After going through the offense hierarchy, there are plenty of reasons to think that the offense will still be efficient. However, there are still too many questions at wide receiver or regarding the offensive line for any predictions to be set in stone.
You May Also Like: Raiders: Can Henry Ruggs III Assume The Mantle Of Number One WR?
*Top Photo: Jeff Bottari/Associated Press