USA TODAY Sports
Reggie McKenzie's aggressive rebuilding effort in Oakland should continue in 2014.
In his second offseason as Oakland Raiders general manager, Reggie McKenzie continued his aggressive effort to reconstruct the team.
McKenzie released many players brought in by former owner/general manager Al Davis, including defensive back Michael Huff, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. Between 10 draft picks and a bevy of free-agent additions, the Oakland Raiders lineup won’t look much like the one they had last year.
In time, disposing of many bad contracts over the past couple seasons while rebuilding the roster should bring the Raiders back to relevancy. They are unlikely to see immediate results in 2013, as it will take time for the team’s young players for develop and for its new additions to mesh as a team.
Offensively, the Raiders have an uncertain quarterback situation. They traded for Matt Flynn to be the team’s starting quarterback, but he has only two career NFL starts. He will receive competition from third-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor and rookie Tyler Wilson in training camp.
The toughest transition for the Raiders in 2013, however, could be on the defensive side of the ball.
The Raiders’ defensive lineup will be comprised almost completely of new players, with defensive end Lamarr Houston and safety Tyvon Branch being the only returning players locked into the lineup. That lineup will be comprised largely of mid-level free-agent signings who will have their work cut out for them in bringing the Raiders back from ranking 28th last season in scoring defense.
With so many new players on the 2013 roster, the Raiders will have to make determinations in 2013 of which players should remain in their long-term plans as they go forward to the 2014 offseason.
That process will be made even tougher because many of the team’s best players—including Houston, running back Darren McFadden and left tackle Jared Veldheer—will be slated for unrestricted free agency.
The Raiders should place a continued emphasis on adding playmakers on both sides of the ball next offseason. They will likely move forward with either Flynn or Wilson as their quarterback in 2014 but need to add more talent around their quarterback to become a winning team once again.
Dan Hope is an NFL draft featured columnist for Bleacher Report.