Raiders notes

Raiders Notes: Secondary Rankings For AFC West, Training Camp Standouts

The offseason is in full effect as AFC West teams are enjoying their break before training camp begins. With ample time to examine the rosters, Pro Football Focus examined the secondary for each squad in the division. Let’s take a look at this and more in the latest edition of Raiders Notes.

Grades and rankings by PFF are often the subjects of debate among NFL fans, regardless of which team. However, the Raiders have recently seen some questionable evaluations by the publication. Like anything else in the football media, they offer an opinion, and you can certainly agree or disagree with it. As teams gear up for training camp, dissecting each positional group is the norm. Most recently, all of the secondaries in the AFC West were ranked and put into tiers this offseason. How did they do? Let’s see.

Raiders notes: How did the AFC West do?

The first tier, according to PFF, is an elite group. “Where do offenses even attack?” is what they dubbed the group. The only AFC West secondary that was worthy of that honor was the unit assembled by the Los Angeles Chargers. A lot of their justification was based on the addition of J.C. Jackson, who was one of the biggest names available in free agency this year. However, the team is also banking on Asante Samuel Jr. ascending to another level in his second year.

Then there was the second tier. According to PFF, these were units that had “minor question marks.” Both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos cracked that list after their offseason work. The Broncos, at number 12, will feature several returning players from last year’s unit, but in particular, PFF is high on Patrick Surtain II. As they put it, “He [Surtain] entered the NFL with almost no learning curve and didn’t allow more than 76 yards in any single game last season en route to becoming the anchor of this unit.” The Chiefs, for their part, came in at number 14. The Chiefs, in their defense, have one of the most underrated defensive backs in the NFL in L’Jarius Sneed. His presence played a big part in the Chiefs’ being ranked that high.

The major shocker came with regard to the Raiders. According to PFF, the Raiders have “serious flaws.” Getting ranked 29th, just above the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears, certainly riled some readers. The biggest concern for the Silver and Black will be overcoming Casey Hayward’s departure, who was their best defender in the secondary last season. They also have to content with the question mark that is Trayvon Mullen. But coming in at 29? What do you think about that, Raider Nation?

NFL OTAs, who stood out in the AFC West?

With OTAs now in the rearview, ESPN beat writers named their picks for standout candidates on their perspective squads. For the Raiders, it was Alex Leatherwood. The offensive lineman came under heavy criticism in his rookie year after a disappointing outing. However, the projected right tackle is making the most of this offseason to prepare and has impressed his new coaches.

Lindsey Thiry named wide receiver Jalen Guyton as the most impressive and biggest offseason surprise for the Los Angeles Chargers. As for the Kansas City Chiefs, safety Juan Thornhill dazzled in OTAs, which bodes well for KC. There’s a lot riding on Thornhill with Tyrann Mathieu now gone, as Adam Teicher points out. In regard to the Denver Broncos, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a defensive back has shined. This year it’s Michael Ojemudia. According to Jeff Legwold, after not playing much last season, Ojemudia is making the most of his opportunity this offseason.

*Top Photo: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

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