All four teams in the AFC West are vying for a playoff spot in 2022. For their part, the Las Vegas Raiders made a few additions that got them a favorable spot on a recent roster ranking.
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently ranked all 32 NFL teams and their respective rosters and Las Vegas popped up at No. 12. Benjamin notes that they have “one of the best pure skill group in the NFL“. On the other hand, he wonders how their offensive line will fare in 2022. Similarly, he sees the Raiders’ defensive backfield, especially cornerback, as a potential weakness.
Derek Carr is a borderline top-10 statistical passer. And now he’s got Davante Adams to target alongside Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller. That’s one of the best pure skill groups in the NFL when you factor in Josh Jacbos’ bruising running back. But how long can their iffy line — basically everyone except left tackle Kolton Miller — hold up?
Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones make up an elite pass rush, but the second and third levels of Vegas’ defense are still rife with questions. At corner, for example, the addition of new faces like Anthony Avarett and Rock Ya-Sin isn’t guaranteed to mask coverage deficiencies seen in starters like Johnathan Abram.
The Raiders already had a few solid pieces in place last season. However, they made two important acquisitions that should help them stay competitive in this year’s race for a playoff spot. On offense, they traded for Davante Adams, who will give Derek Carr the bonafide No. 1 receiver he’s lacked over the last few years. On defense, Ziegler got a bookend edge defender opposite Maxx Crosby in Chandler Jones. While they traded Yannick Ngakoue to the Indianapolis Colts, their pass rush looks better, at least on paper.
The Raiders have a well-rounded roster in 2022
The Raiders weren’t devoid of talent last year. But they were one and done in the playoffs, losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card Round. That’s why adding Adams and Jones made sense, as both should help them advance further this season.
One thing Benjamin didn’t mention in his rankings is that general manager Dave Ziegler managed to retain the team’s building blocks. Not only did Carr get a new deal but so did Crosby, and Hunter Renfrow. Tight end Darren Waller is still waiting for his but the Raiders should be able to work something out.
The offensive line is still an area of concern ahead of training camp. The fact that they didn’t have first and second-round selections after acquiring Adams hurt the Raiders’ ability to revamp the group. But if rookie Dylan Parham and sophomore Alex Leatherwood perform well, Carr will have enough time to throw the ball.
The Raiders made the playoffs in 2021 after a four-year drought. The next step will be to win a postseason game in Josh McDaniels’ first year on the job. It might be a tough task but there are enough pieces in place to ensure they aren’t one and done two years in a row.
*Top Photo:Â Dave Zeigler, general manager of the Las Vegas Raiders (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)