It’s been a busy offseason for the Oakland Raiders. With new general manager Mike Mayock in town, the roster looks vastly different than it did in 2018. This should be considered a good thing being that the Raiders played poorly on offense and defense. Not only did the team add big named veterans on offense like Antonio Brown and Trent Brown, they also invested heavily on the defensive side of the ball in the draft. On paper, the offensive roster didn’t look terrible in 2018. Amari Cooper was coming off productive seasons and nobody could’ve foreseen Marshawn Lynch missing most of the season. Regardless, a corps of Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams and Josh Jacobs looks better than last year’s unit, right? Wrong, according to ESPN.
Raiders’ Offensive Arsenal Is Worse Than It Was in 2018, Says ESPN
In a recent piece by Bill Barnwell at ESPN, he went through and ranked all of the offensive arsenals in the NFL. He ranked the Raiders as the 23rd best offensive arsenal. In 2018, the Raiders ranked 19th before the season and in 2017, they ranked eighth. Here’s what he had to say:
Moving down four spots after adding Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams isn’t as controversial as it seems, in part because last year’s Raiders looked better on paper than they actually were on the field. This time last year, the Raiders still had Amari Cooper and Jared Cook and were extremely optimistic about Jordy Nelson and Marshawn Lynch.
Oakland is certainly better at wideout, and Josh Jacobs offers more upside than Lynch, but Williams is likely to take a hit after moving away from Philip Rivers, and the team will replace Cook with the likes of Derek Carrier and Darren Waller, which is a huge drop-off.
Keep in mind, this is a list of offensive arsenals. It doesn’t take into account quarterback, coaching or offensive line. Barnwell says in his intro that wide receivers are valued most when he ranked the arsenals, so it’s bizarre that he would say that Raiders receiving corps is better than it was a year ago, but still say the offensive arsenal has gotten worse. He seems to put a lot of weight into the loss of tight end Jared Cook. While Cook was a stud for the Raiders in 2018, it’s unlikely his loss will outweigh the gain that Antonio Brown brings. Also, Josh Jacobs has much more upside than any of the Raiders running backs had a year ago. Plus, analysts shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Darren Waller. Jon Gruden is really excited about his potential and he’s already impressed in the offseason so far.
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Raiders Offensive Line Among NFL’s Worst, Says PFF
In another baffling display of NFL analysis, Pro Football Focus ranked the Raiders as having the 26th best offensive line in the NFL. An offensive line that has pro bowlers in Rodney Hudson and Richie Incognito, plus, solid players like Trent Brown and Gabe Jackson is somehow the seventh worse unit in the NFL. Here’s their rationale:
This was an offensive line that was a top-five unit as recently as two years ago, yet, here we are. Kolton Miller returns at left tackle after one of the worst seasons we’ve ever seen from a rookie offensive lineman, but the right side stands to see at least some improvement after the Raiders made Trent Brown the highest-paid tackle in the league. The one bright spot for this offensive line shines from center Rodney Hudson, who has finished first among centers in pass-blocking grade in each of the last four seasons and hasn’t allowed a sack since Week 17 of the 2017 season.
Yes, Kolton Miller was bad last year, but he was also a rookie that was struggling with injuries while having to face off against the best pass rushers in the NFL. It’s hard to imagine the unit being worse than last year. Miller will improve and Brown and Incognito are instant improvements at their positions. The thing holding the unit back is offensive line coach Tom Cable. Cable has never proven that he can lead a top offensive line. He’ll definitely be on the chopping block if PFF is right and the Raiders don’t field a great offensive line in 2019.