The Oakland Raiders and Antonio Brown have parted ways and that’s the last his name his going to be mentioned here. It’s been a rough week for Jon Gruden’s squad, especially with the beginning of the season looming. Despite the tribulation, the team has a lot to be excited about. They added many talented veterans in the offseason and three first-round rookies. Oakland also has a winnable game against the Denver Broncos in week one. Below we’re going to go through the most exciting new players the Raiders have heading into 2019.
Tyrell Williams Is the Top Guy
Tyrell Williams is now going to be Derek Carr’s number one receiver in 2019. It’s hard to argue that Williams is better than Amari Cooper, but the receiving corps as a whole should be improved. Williams had some big games with the Los Angeles Chargers but was usually playing second-fiddle to Keenan Allen. Now that he’s the top guy, he could be in for a big season.
“I feel like I’m one of the more underrated receivers,” Williams said during training camp. “I know I can run every route and obviously I can get better at it, but I know I can run all those routes, I can get open with every route. So, I definitely feel like I’m overlooked in my short game, but I do feel I can be a good short route runner.”
He’s known for his ability as a deep-threat, but he should see his route tree be greatly expanded. Fortunately for him, he spent most of training camp as the top receiving option for Carr, so there shouldn’t be too much of a learning curve. Don’t be surprised if Williams is a breakout star this season.
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New Defenders: Vontaze Burfict & LaMarcus Joyner
The Raiders recently announced their team captains and two of them are new to the roster. Vontaze Burfict has been a big leader for the team since he was brought in on a one-year deal. Oakland has lacked stability at linebacker and hopefully, Burfict is the one who can bring it. His familiarity with Paul Guenther’s system has given him an edge. If he can return to the form that he was at during his early years in Cincinnati, the Raiders may have finally figured out their linebacker problem.
Another captain that the team brought in this offseason is defensive badck, LaMarcus Joyner. Joyner comes from the Los Angeles Rams and has a wealth of experience. His leadership is a perfect fit for a very young Raiders secondary. As the team’s go-to nickel corner, Joyner should fit in nicely with Gareon Conley and Daryll Worley. For the first time in a while, Oakland’s defensive backfield may be a strength for the team.
The Rookies: Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs & Johnathan Abram
The Raiders went from being the oldest team in the NFL in 2018 to one of the youngest in 2019. That’s thanks to the many impressive rookies that are joining the team. Oakland had three first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft and took Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram. All three of those guys are slated to be starters and should be big contributors from week one. With Ferrell, the Raiders are hoping that he help fills the void at pass rush. After only getting 13 sacks as a team in 2018, the team needs him to produce immediately. He was highly productive in college and is as NFL-ready as a rookie can be.
Jacobs is the most talented running back the Raiders have had in quite a while. He should be the centerpiece of Jon Gruden’s offense and will get many opportunities as a rusher and a receiver. Unlike ceratin players, Jacobs has a very small ego and should fit in perfectly in this Raiders offense as Gruden loves to target running backs in the passing game. Abram should be a revelation at safety after the defense had terrible play at that position in 2019. They’re trading an old Reggie Nelson for a young Abram and it should pay huge dividends.