Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden have a problem at offensive guard. Are there any viable solutions?
The Raiders’ exciting 33-27 Monday night football win over the Ravens came at a price. Amongst a long list of banged-up players was starting guard Denzelle Good, who suffered a torn ACL on just the seventh snap of the game. While Good toughed it out and played another ten snaps, his season was unfortunately over before it began. With an O-line already severely depleted, here are three solutions to help address the loss at guard.
The first place the Raiders need to be looking is the free agency market. One name that stands out is former Steelers guard David DeCastro. While slipping in production in 2020, the guard is now fully healthy and looking to sign with a needy NFL team. The Raiders offensive line can gain a serious leader with the 31-year-old and, if healthy, a seriously stout player.
Other potential free agent guards the Raiders should do some homework on include: Joe Dahl, Forrest Lamp, and possibly even a reunion with Kelechi Osemele, who was solid for the Raiders before leaving and becoming plagued by injuries. Despite the recent signing of Jordan Simmons off of Seattle’s practice squad, the Raiders should still be eager to add a starting-quality guard.
What about a trade?
Should the Raiders pursue a guard via the trade market, they could get great value for a few under-the-radar players. Cleveland, in particular, has quite a few quality O-linemen. The Raiders should call Cleveland concerning backup guard Michael Dunn, who put on a clinic in Cleveland’s playoff victory against Pittsburgh, allowing zero combined sacks and pressures. At only 27 years old, Dunn still has room to grow as well.
Las Vegas could also phone Tennessee for a potential Nate Davis deal. This one is a long shot, but the Titans have 53rd-overall pick Dillon Radunz waiting patiently behind Davis on the depth chart, and there are some murmurs that Radunz might fit better at guard rather than filling the tackle position. Both trades are unlikely. However, with Dunn’s potential and Davis’ run-blocking ability and growth, it could be an idea worth exploring.
Next Man Up
John Simpson and Jermaine Eluemunor were far from awful in relief of Good and Richie Incognito. They flashed some impressive abilities, and Simpson especially continues to show his growth and potential as the Raiders guard of the future. Jon Gruden praised Eluemunor in particular, saying he did an “unbelievable job” after subbing in. Should the Raiders continue to roll with that duo, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. The hope is that the Silver and Black can find a starter to replace Good and an aging Incognito, but from what we learned on Monday, they have a couple of solid pieces behind them.
*Top Photo: Lachlan Cunningham /Getty Images