3 Moves Raiders Need to Make to Keep Pace in AFC West

allen robinson

Getty Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson.

Though the Las Vegas Raiders didn’t win a playoff game, the team had to feel good about how the season went. Despite losing their head coach early in the year, they made it to the playoffs and finished second in the AFC West. However, owner Mark Davis realized that the team likely hit their ceiling under Rich Bisaccia and decided to hire Josh McDaniels to take over as head coach.

The new coach isn’t going to have an easy time in the AFC West as Russell Wilson has been traded to the Denver Broncos. Much will be made about how the Raiders now have the worst quarterback in the division in Derek Carr but he’s good enough to get the team to the playoffs. What needs work is the rest of the roster. While it’s easy to get caught up in the Wilson trade, Las Vegas doesn’t need to do much to keep pace in the AFC West. There are three simple moves the team can make that will give them a chance as good as any to compete with Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers and Broncos for the divisional crown.

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Sign CB J.C. Jackson

The AFC West is now going to be home to some of the best passing offenses in the NFL. Not only do the Raiders have to face three elite quarterbacks in Wilson, Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes, but they also have to stop their weapons in Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Courtland Sutton, Keenan Allen and more.

One of the best ways to slow down an elite passing attack is to have a shutdown cornerback. Luckily, one of the NFL’s best is a free agent. The New England Patriots chose not to use the franchise tag on J.C. Jackson. The cornerback has 25 interceptions in four seasons and was named Second-Team All-Pro last year. McDaniels should be very familiar with Jackson as they were with the Patriots the last four years. Signing Jackson would go a long way in helping the Raiders pass defense. The team has a great pass-rushing duo in Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue. Giving them more time to go to the quarterback is a recipe for success.


Trade up in Draft for Georgia DT Jordan Davis

If former Raiders owner Al Davis were still alive, Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis would’ve somehow signed a contract with the team before the draft. The 6-foot-6, 341-pound behemoth put on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine. His 4.78 time in the 40-yard dash defies logic for a man of his size.

Now, Davis is possibly the best athlete in the entire draft but that doesn’t mean he’s the cleanest prospect. He should be a stout run defender from Day 1 but needs a lot of work as a pass rusher. He only had 7.0 sacks in four seasons at Georgia. That said, with an athlete like Davis, you can teach him to rush the passer but you can’t teach his athleticism. He almost certainly helped his draft status thanks to the Combine.

Davis still likely won’t be a top-10 pick but it’s hard to imagine he gets past the Chargers at 17 in the first round. The Philadelphia Eagles hold the 15th and 16th pick in the draft. The Raiders should see if they’re willing to give one up and drop to 22. Las Vegas could give them a third-rounder to make it worth their while. The Raiders don’t have any defensive tackles from last season under contract. It’s one of their biggest positions of need. Davis would be an excellent player to put on the defensive line with Crosby and Ngakoue. Having a great defensive line only makes it harder for these elite AFC West quarterbacks to operate.


Sign WR Allen Robinson

Many will point to the Raiders needing to upgrade the offensive line as one of the biggest needs. While that’s absolutely correct, the team still needs great weapons to compete with all the high-powered offenses in the AFC West. No matter how good the defense is, the Raiders are going to need to score a lot of points.

The team has good weapons in Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller but they lack a true No. 1 wide receiver. Davante Adams was the logical player for them to target before he got hit with the franchise tag from the Green Bay Packers. The Raiders should turn their sights to Allen Robinson. He’s coming off a down year with only 410 receiving yards. That should reduce his price in free agency. Robinson has had the misfortune of never having a good quarterback throwing him the ball. He could blow up with Carr throwing him the ball and McDaniels calling plays.

READ NEXT: Raiders Sign Ex-Eagles DB in First Roster Move Under Josh McDaniels

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