Finally, a victory! The Las Vegas Raiders defeated the Denver Broncos 22-16, ending their miserable three-game losing streak. The Raiders have never lost to the Broncos, and they are currently third in the AFC West after that win. Let’s examine the three disappointments that came from this game.
The Las Vegas Raiders hurt their draft positioning
Just win, baby? The Raiders owned the second overall pick in the draft going into the game, and it appeared as though they would be getting a top pick in next April’s draft. But following their victory over the Broncos, their pick dropped to the fourth overall pick. People often argue that you should play to win games, but for the Raiders, the opposite should be true. Their chances of landing a top draft pick will quickly erode if they keep winning, which is not good since they need a top pick to acquire some elite talent.
The tiebreakers used to determine the order of the 2023 NFL Draft may depend on this victory over the Broncos. Consider the 2018 Raiders’ victory over the Arizona Cardinals, which ended up being the difference between the number one overall pick and the fourth pick. The Cardinals went on to draft Kyler Murray, and the Raiders drafted Clelin Ferrell. We can only hope that this victory doesn’t end up haunting the Raiders in the future.
We might as well save a space on this list for Jones. No. 55 has now played against two of the worst offensive lines in the NFL without recording a sack or a tackle for loss. Jones generated some pressure, but he’s being compensated for sacking the quarterback, which he’s not doing much of. He is expected to finish the season with 36 total tackles and just one sack after this subpar effort, according to ESPN. For a player of his ability and pay grade, this is simply unacceptable. The future of Jones’ contract is a problem for the Raiders. Given that Yannick Ngakoue has six more sacks than Chandler Jones, general manager Dave Ziegler made a glaring mistake by signing Jones instead of keeping Ngakoue.
Cole was thrown in a variety of spots during this game, so it’s hard to blame him, but oh, was he bad. Cole appeared to have no understanding of the offense and no chemistry with Derek Carr. We will give him credit where credit is due because his one reception that night resulted in a significant first down. However, aside from that, Cole didn’t really do much, especially in the return game. Cole’s performance as the punt returner for this game was poor. He averaged seven yards per return on his four returns. He didn’t appear bad because of his low average; rather, it was because he was scared of contact and uncertain of what he wanted to do.
*Top Photo: John Locher/Associated Press