What Upgrades Must Be Made This Offseason
The Raiders obviously need an upgrade to their current starting group of players. Some positions are set in stone but every position needs some depth. There are at least 4 starting positions that must be addressed this offseason and need immediate upgrades plus obvious depth.
This slideshow discusses the positions most critical to upgrading the Raiders and making them a playoff team.
However, I do want to point out I've stayed away from the QB position because we all know for the most part who'll be on the roster come training camp at QB.
The Tackle Position
LT/RT – This is the ultimate offseason decision which has to be made. Many can state a case for Mario Henderson at LT because he’s played very well when he’s had Gallery next to him. He struggled last year when Gallery got injured, but so would most young left tackles. Either way I believe the first pick of the draft should be a LT who can compete with Mario Henderson for LT and the “loser” takes RT thus creating a solid group of bookends who keep the QB upright. Cornell Green played adequate at best when he was in at RT but needs to be replaced. When he was out the team obviously missed his play, but not his penalties.
Cooper Carlisle was a great stopgap player whom Tom Cable brought into the ZBS because he came from Denver and knew the system as did Cornell Green. Carlisle’s too small to play RG in the current system and struggles in pass protection. He should've been replaced after the 2007 season in which he helped the Raiders O line learn the new system.
This is an obviously hot topic among Raiders fans but the truth of the matter is Kirk Morrison misses too many tackles by missing assignments. Someone needs to replace him at MLB. I would love for Morrison to take the home team discount and stay as a WLB or backup, but he’s not going to get starter MLB money.
The Defensive Line
The Raiders need a true 6’2” 320 lbs DT/NT who can take on double teams and allow the rest of the line to penetrate. The Raiders haven’t had anyone do this in 5 years. They need a monster to plug the middle.
I honestly believe Tommy Kelly would play much better if he had a true DT/NT beside him and a decent offense that doesn't have him on the field the whole game. The D lineman struggle the most when they are on the field the whole game.
Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy, DHB, and Nick Miller are a good start to a group of receivers, but there needs to be a consistent veteran brought in to be the go-to-guy. Javon Walker has yet to fill that role because he can’t get on the field.
Nnamdi Asomogha and Chris Johnson make up a solid group of CB’s in this league, but there needs to be better depth behind them. The Raiders are known for having nickel backs leave via free agency who became starting CB’s elsewhere. Right now there’s a lack of depth at this position that needs to be addressed and they need at least two players to sit in the wings and play nickelback and be an extra CB in the dime packages.
What Should They Do?
I’d love to see the Raiders draft OT Trent Williams with their 1st pick, take Mt Cody with their 2nd pick, draft WLB/MLB Daryl Washington with their first 3rd round pick, a G who can replace Carlisle with their 2nd 3rd, and then let the rest of the draft be for picking up players who can provide depth and/or start. The first 4 picks alone would be make an immediate upgrade to this team. A CB, FB, G, and DT could be players the Raiders focus on later in the draft.
If Demeco Ryans doesn't get hit with the franchise or transition tag then he should be the Raiders primary target in free agency. Demeco Ryans was a better player at Alabama coming out than is current "Bama LB Rolando McClain and Ryans has proven himself in this league.
A starter or two plus depth should be brought in for the trenches via the draft, free agency, and of course rookie free agents. Last year they scored with DT Desmond Bryant and believe they have hidden gem in WR Nick Miller.
What do you guys think? Are these positions critical as I say or do you believe there are other key spots they must address?