The Oakland Raiders have been uncharacteristically quiet this off season, with no big- name signings as in previous years. But the release of some key veterans, and the free agent tenders applied to others, have given a clear indication that a movement towards youth is the theme for this year.
In some positions on the roster, it isn’t now a case of if they need new players on board, but who?
The release of Greg Ellis won’t leave that big of a hole, as Matt Shaugnessy showed he was up to the job standing in for Ellis in 2009.
With Cornell Green done for though, shocking though it was, he was our best option at right tackle. Despite all his penalties and poor play, when he was out injured last season, our line actually looked even worse.
And while many Raiders fans may well be glad to see him go (including myself), we now have to address the issue of who will replace him There is certainly no one on the current roster capable of being a starting right tackle.
Any free agent options are extremely limited at this point in time, so you have to believe a replacement will be found in the draft. There are certainly options there, and when Oakland picks at No. 8, you have to believe that this is the way they will go.
Although not quite so clear cut as right tackle, linebacker is also a huge need for the Raiders in 2010. Kirk Morrison is clearly out of favour having been given an original pick tender only. The Raiders could have given him a second round tender and not had to pay him any more money. That is as sure a sign as you are going to get that he is trade bait.
If Morrison goes, then the linebacking corps is perilously thin, and you have to believe that Oakland will strengthen this area significantly too. They gave a lot of attention to Utah DE/LB Koa Misi at the Senior Bowl.
So however you cut it, the Raiders are going to have to pick a tackle early in this year’s draft, and also add a linebacker or two to give this team a chance to be competitive in 2010.
That is as well as the need for a space-eating nose tackle to help plug a leaky run defense. Gerard Warren is certainly no lock to make the team on opening day, and the veteran cuts may not be over yet.
With Al Davis though, you just never know which way he will go.
In this upcoming draft, we simply have to address the key positions on the team. If we don’t, we will be doomed to another season of sub-par football, and Tom Cable will have no chance to take this team any further than he has already.
For Raider fans, the draft is always...interesting.