The biggest talking point coming out of Week 1 for the Las Vegas Raiders involves the offensive line. While quarterback Derek Carr deserves a fair share of the blame for some poor decisions, he was consistently under pressure and sacked six times. It’s not easy to find difference-making offensive linemen at this point in the season but the team has decided to add some depth.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Raiders are signing Billy Price to the practice squad.
Price is primarily a center but has some experience playing guard when he was at Ohio State. He originally came into the NFL as a first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was never able to carve out much of a role with the team and was traded to the New York Giants prior to last season.
With the Giants, Price started 15 games last season. He allowed two sacks and 24 pressures last season, per Pro Football Focus. Those aren’t great numbers but his experience does give the Raiders a solid option on the practice squad. The team didn’t have a true backup center but they have one now with Price.
Andre James Returns to Raiders Facility
The news of the Raiders signing a center shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Starting center Andre James had to leave SoFi Stadium in an ambulance after the Week 1 game due to a concussion. His status remains unclear for Week 2 but head coach Josh McDaniels revealed that the center is back with the team.
“Dre’s back here now, which is a good thing,” McDaniels said Monday. “I know that was kind of just a little bit of a concern last night, so we did the right thing there, but he’s here. He came back last night. I haven’t met with (head athletic trainer) Chris (Cortez) yet. We obviously came out of it with some bumps and bruises, for sure. I’m not exactly sure the extent yet on those; the guys haven’t all trickled in yet. We’ll find out more today.”
James struggled often during his first season as a starter last year but played much better against the Chargers. He only allowed one pressure throughout the game and no sacks, per Pro Football Focus. He struggled in the run game with only a 63.6 grade but is making strides as a pass protector. If James can continue to improve and become a reliable center, that would be great news for the Raiders as they have question marks all over the offensive line.
Dylan Parham Earns Solid Grade in Debut
Rookie third-round pick Dylan Parham earned the starting right guard position in Week 1 but was able to hold onto it for the whole game. The team eventually put in Lester Cotton to replace him. However, that may have been a premature move by the coaching staff. According to Pro Football Focus, Parham played quite well. He earned the highest grade of all of the Raiders’ offensive linemen at 82.3
Now, Pro Football Focus isn’t beyond reproach and the coaching staff clearly didn’t like what they were seeing. That said, Parham could develop into a very good player for the Raiders as the season goes on. If he becomes a dependable starting guard, that solves one problem for Las Vegas.