The Las Vegas Raiders have been relatively quiet this offseason once their major moves were done. Many fans were clamoring for James Bradberry, but another team swooped him up as soon as he became available. As far as the Raiders go, they’ve stood their ground as they appear to be happy with their roster. However, one former NFL executive believes there’s more to that.
Should the Las Vegas Raiders pursue more NFL free agents?
Scott Pioli has been a general manager for the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs and was a key member of the New England Patriots front office. From 2000–2008, Pioli served as Assistant Director (and later, director) of Player Personnel, and by 2002, he was vice president of Player Personnel. Pioli is quite familiar with the new Raiders head coach, Josh McDaniels. As Pioli mentioned on NFL Network recently, he was responsible for hiring McDaniels back in 2001. Regarding the Raiders’ roster, Pioli stated that so far, the Silver and Black have done a solid job of filling out key positions.
As far as the Raiders’ pass rush and cornerback, Pioli commended the addition of Chandler Jones and Anthony Averett.
“We just watched an interview with a player [Chandler Jones] that is going to be the glue guy for this defense. He’s going to bring an element of maturity and experience that cannot be underrated. I was on some really good teams and having players like that helps in so many ways.”
Pioli went on to highlight the fact that the biggest beneficiary of Jones’ arrival will be Maxx Crosby. Crosby, who was extended this offseason, will look to record double-digit sacks in 2022. Having such a dominant pass-rushing force opposite of him will surely make the difference.
What about the cornerbacks?
“The other place where they upgraded was the cornerback position. Bringing in Anthony Averett and Rock Ya-Sin is really going to help their defense because as we know, the corner position has been a problem for them.”
Both Averett and Ya-Sin will get plenty of snaps this season, especially Ya-Sin. However, there’s concern among some fans that the Raiders haven’t done enough. Depth at cornerback is suspect. In fact, Trayvon Mullen is coming off a 2021 season that was riddled by injuries. He’s also returning from offseason surgery. Perhaps the team would benefit from adding at least one more cornerback during or after camp.
To that end, Pioli acknowledged that McDaniels comes from the Patriots’ philosophy of using the entire NFL calendar to address the roster. In other words, the Raiders could strike at any moment once cuts begin to take place.
“He [McDaniels] worked with us in the player personnel department before he went to coaching and one of the things that was a big part of our philosophy is that we worked and used the entire calendar year to acquire talent. I don’t think the Raiders are done yet in terms of acquiring players. They will use the 53-man roster cuts to pick up players that will help their overall team, especially this defense.”
*Top Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images