3 Raiders Trade Targets After Week 2
If the first two weeks are any indication, the Las Vegas Raiders are set to be a serious contender in 2021.
Derek Carr and Co. kept things going in Week 2, becoming one of only two AFC teams to start 2-0 with a 26-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then they watched the Baltimore Ravens, the team they beat in Week 1, surprise the Kansas City Chiefs.
Thanks to a hot start from Carr and strong performances from the defensive front, the Raiders have a lot to like about their team going into 2021.
It also means they could be buyers when the NFL's trade deadline starts approaching. It's not too early to start looking at players the Raiders may be interested in if they want to make a push for the AFC West.
Here's a look at three players the team should be monitoring as the early season progresses.
OT Andre Dillard
As well as the Raiders offense has been playing, it hasn't been a product of stellar offensive line play. The Steelers' defensive front was banged up and they still managed two sacks and four quarterback hits.
Alex Leatherwood has particularly struggled at right tackle. Through two games, he has already surrendered three sacks, committed four penalties and earned a 32.0 out of 100 grade from Pro Football Focus. That was without playing the whole game against the Steelers because he left with a quad injury.
It's difficult to find a sure thing at tackle on the trade market. However, the Raiders could go the route of targeting a younger prospect looking for a change of scenery.
The Philadelphia Eagles' Andre Dillard fits that profile. The 2019 first-round pick lost the left tackle job to Jordan Mailata, who the team recently signed to a four-year contract extension.
Transitioning to right tackle is out of the cards in Philly with Lane Johnson manning the spot. However, a move could happen in a place like Las Vegas. Dillard posted a 59.7 grade from PFF with four sacks allowed on 337 snaps with just one penalty in his 2019 rookie campaign.
Those numbers are better than what Leatherwood has done through two games, and that's not considering the potential development Dillard has undergone in two seasons out of the starting lineup.
OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
Again, this is a move that would at least bring another option on the offensive line. The Raiders have been hammered by injuries on the interior. Denzelle Good is on injured reserve with a torn ACL and Richie Incognito has yet to play because of a calf injury.
John Simpson and Jermaine Eluemunor have stepped into the lineup, but the results haven't been great. Simpson has earned a way below par 43.4 grade from PFF, while Eluemunor has been graded at 53.6. The results are most clearly seen in the run game where the Raiders have struggled to open holes.
Even with Josh Jacobs out in Week 2, the Raiders have talented backs in Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber, yet they are averaging 2.9 yards per carry.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif may be able to help in that regard. The guard opted out of the 2020 season to practice medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. He dealt with a broken hand in the preseason but is stuck behind Trey Smith on the depth chart.
Duvernay-Tardif is far from a world-beater, but he is a consistent run-blocker who would give the Raiders an experienced player who is healthy and younger than Incognito.
LB Jaylon Smith
The Raiders are still waiting on the Cory Littleton signing to pay off. After inking the linebacker to a big contract during 2020 free agency he was supposed to heal their woes in the middle of the field.
According to Pro Football Reference, Littleton has missed 21.1 percent of his tackle attempts this season, which is worse than the 17.2 percent he missed in 2020, and the takeaways he had in pass coverage for the Los Angeles Rams have disappeared since signing with Las Vegas.
The additions of Denzel Perryman and K.J. Wright have strengthened the linebacking corps, but Littleton remains the weak link.
If the trend continues, the Raiders may want to get in on the potential trade market for Jaylon Smith.
The 2019 Pro Bowler is out of favor in the Cowboys rotation. With the addition of rookie Micah Parsons and Keanu Neal in free agency, he seems to be the fourth linebacker with Leighton Vander Esch seeing more time out of the two holdovers.
Smith is a sure tackler. According to Pro Football Reference, he has yet to miss one with 13 stops to his name this season and only missed on 5.5 percent of his attempts in what was probably the worst year of his professional career to this point in 2020.
Smith joining the linebacking corps could put Littleton out of a job and on the trade block himself.