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Know Your Enemy: Oakland Raiders

Know Your Enemy continues with the Oakland Raiders. Jon Gruden, I like that guy, returns for year 2 of his massive 10 year coaching contract. Mike Mayock was the new GM this year and made three first round picks for Oakland. The Raiders were clearly in rebuild mode last year dealing away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper for many first round picks.  The Raiders will look much different this year in their final year in Oakland than their 4-12 record from 2018.

Strengths

WRs

The Raiders made a huuuuuge move by trading for Antonio Brown. Brown has been incredible for the Steelers. Brown had 1,297 yards and 15 TDS in 2018. Yeah he is a good player and instantly made the Raiders better. If he isn’t a locker room cancer, the Raiders will be very happy with him. Tyrell Williams (653 yards and 5 TDs with the Chargers) was a nice addition in free agency. JJ Nelson and rookie Hunter Renfrow round out the depth.

Offensive Line

The Raiders have some talent on the offensive line. They added Trent Brown on a big contract to play right tackle. Kolton Miller is a first round pick in his second year at left tackle. Gabe Jackson is a solid guard and Rodney Hudson is a good center. Richie Icognito will be a bully at left guard for the Raiders. It’s a solid line but the depth lacks.

QB

Derek Carr has had success and finally gets some weapons to help him with some protection. We’ll see if Derek Carr can take that next step forward like his strong year in 2017. Carr better not get hurt though with Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman backing him up.

Weaknesses

Defensive Line

The Raiders are young on the defensive line. There is talent with Maurice Hurst at DT and first round pick Clein Ferrel at Defensive End. Arden Key is in his second year as well out of LSU and needs to step up for Oakland. Jonathan Hankins is a solid nose tackle. PJ Hall adds depth in his second year as  2nd round pick. Justin Ellis has had success for Oakland too at DT. Josh Mauro and rookie Maxx Crosby is not ideal depth.

Linebacker

Brandon Marshall was added from Denver and Vontze Burfict takes his dirty play to Oakland. Marquel Lee is not a good SAM. Tahir Whitehead is good depth though and cover and play all three LB spot. Jason Cabinda is a former Penn Stater but is a slow MIKE LB.

Secondary

The Raiders need some young players to step up but should be better than 2018. Gareon Conley is a 1st round pick from 2017 in a make or break year. Nick Nelson is recovered from injury and could be CB 2. Lamarcus Joyner was a huge add from the Rams at safety. Johnathan Abram was drafted in Round 1 at safety too and Karl Joseph is a former 1st round pick to be the third safety. Travyvon Mullen is a rookie 2nd round pick that could have a role in the defense too. It’s not terrible for their coverage but young players will need to step up and the young Oakland defensive line needs a much better pass rush than their terrible 2018 version. This is the theme for Oakland on defense.

Run Game

Josh Jacobs was drafted out of Alabama in Round 1. They want him to be the next Charlie Garner for Gruden. Isiah Crowell tore his achilles in OTAs and will miss the year. Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and Doug Martin could be decent depth though for the Raiders ground attack.

Tight End

Rookie 4th round pick Foster Moreau, Luke Willson, Darren Waller and Derek Carrier has to be the worst tight end group in the league.

Schedule and Results

Oakland hosts Minnesota in Week 3 and Green Bay in Week 7. The Raiders play the Bears in London in Week 5. The Lions are the only team to go the Black Hole in Oakland’s final year in Week 9. All four NFC North teams should beat Oakland. They were 3-5 at home in a four win season though so the Lions have the toughest draw there. The Raiders get their bye before the Packers game. The Raiders have much more talent but are still way too young on defense.