Analyzing Reggie McKenzie's Latest Flurry of Free Agency Action

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIApril 11, 2013

Analyzing Reggie McKenzie's Latest Flurry of Free Agency Action

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    When it rains, it pours.  That just about sums up what the Oakland Raiders have been up to the last few days as there have been several players in for visits.  Some players have been signed, some have not and one was thought to be signed when in fact he wasn't.

    Through most of free agency, the Raiders have been focused on addressing the defense, but they finally gave some attention to the offense in recent weeks, specifically, the quarterback and running back positions.  

    Here is an in-depth look at each Raider position group that has been in the news over the last 48 hours.

Quarterbacks

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    First, the Raiders invited in Seneca Wallace and Tyler Thigpen for workouts.  Then came the reports that Wallace was signed by the Raiders after an impressive workout.  Now, the latest details suggest that Wallace has not signed with Oakland, but that he might.

    Apparently the Raiders found another option at QB who had been mentioned earlier in the offseason.  Vince Young impressed the Raiders while throwing at University of Texas' pro day, and Young then had an impressive workout with the Raiders.

    The Raiders will likely have Matt Flynn as the starter for the season opener, but the real competition seems to be between Terrelle Pryor and whomever the Raiders sign from the trio of Young, Wallace and Thigpen.  

    Pryor showed potential in his one career start last year, so I don't think the organization doubts his future with the team.  It's more likely that they want to keep Pryor busy fighting off backups while the team takes a look at Flynn as the starter.  

    The ultimate decision about who will be the franchise QB will come down to a choice between Flynn and Pryor.

Running Backs

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    The Raiders were expected to have two running backs come in for visits.

    One of the free agents coming to Oakland has already signed the dotted line.  Rashad Jennings, who had been Maurice Jones-Drew's backup in Jacksonville, will likely replace the departed Mike Goodson as the backup to Darren McFadden.

    When backing up McFadden though, you have to ready to go in because McFadden has never played more than 13 games in a season.  

    The Raiders other expected visit is with Bernard Scott.  Scott is coming off a season in which he tore his ACL and is looking to return to form.  Like cornerback Terence Newman, who almost signed with the Raiders at the beginning of April, Scott is contemplating signing with either Oakland or the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Although the Raiders just signed Jennings, there is still room for Scott on the roster because of Taiwan Jones moving to play cornerback.  With Goodson and Jones being relocated, the Raiders have plenty of room for two new running backs.

Defensive Backs

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    Perhaps the area where Oakland has been the busiest in recent days is the defensive backfield.

    The Raiders re-signed Joselio Hanson who had been forced into starting duty late last year because of injuries.  Hanson will compete to play in nickel and dime defenses against Phillip Adams, whom the Raiders also re-signed.

    The Raiders also added Usama Young.  Young has a connection to Dennis Allen from when the two were in New Orleans.  Young was a third-round selection by the Saints during Allen's time there as the defensive backs coach.

    Another safety Oakland-bound in Reggie Smith III (RS3?).  Smith is a former 49er (2008-2011) who also happens to be a former third-round pick.  Smith was out of football last year after the 49ers released him.  The Raiders are looking at Smith as a potential replacement for Mike Mitchell.

Defensive Line

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    Andre Carter was re-signed by the Raiders this offseason after he joined the team in during the 2012 season in hopes of bolstering an anemic pass rush.  

    Carter couldn't help out the Raiders much as he had just 2.5 sacks in 12 games with the Raiders.  To Carter's credit, he was playing while rehabbing a leg and was never quite able to re-capture his previous form.

    Perhaps 2013 will be the year that Carter hits full strength.  He was a Pro-Bowler not so long ago in New England, and he entered the NFL as a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2001.  So Carter certainly is capable of playing at a high level.

    The question for the veteran Carter, though, is how much is left in his tank?

Conclusion

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    That sums up what the Raiders have been up to for the last few days.  With all the news and reports coming out, it has been hard to keep up.  

    The majority of free agency is over, but for the Raiders—with all their needs plus the lack of cap space—this could be the time they were waiting for: the period when free agents get a little less demanding in there contract negotiations because of how long they have gone without being signed.

    McKenzie has filled a few needs over the last couple of days, and he could be just getting started.