UA-59049186-1 NFL Team Preview: Oakland Raiders - Good if it Goes

NFL Team Preview: Oakland Raiders

This is a photo of The Oakland Raiders 2017 first round draft pick Gareon Conley during a press conference at The Oakland Raiders Practice Facility in Alameda, California.  April 28, 2017.

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Last Year:

Record: 12-4

Offense: 26.0 ppg (7th)

Defense: 24.1 (20th)

Offseason: 

Key Acquisitions: RB. Marshawn Lynch, TE. Jared Cook, OT. Marshall Newhouse, LB. Jelani Jenkins

Key Losses: RB. Latavius Murray, OT. Austin Howard, DT. Dan Williams, DT. Stacy McGee, LB. Perry Riley

2017 Draft Picks

RD(PK) PLAYER POS SCHOOL
1(24) Gareon Conley CB Ohio State
2(24) Obi Melifonwu S Connecticut
3(24) Eddie Vanderdoes DT UCLA
4(23) David Sharpe OG Florida
5(24) Marquel Lee OLB Wake Forest
7(3) Shalom Luani S Washington State
7(13) Jylan Ware OT Alabama State
7(24) Elijah Hood RB North Carolina
7(26) Treyvon Hester DT Toledo

2017 Outlook 

Coaching Staff

  • HC: Jack Del Rio
  • OC: Todd Downing
  • DC: Ken Norton Jr
  • ST: Brad Seely

Offense

QB. Derek Carr, Connor Cook

RB. Marshawn Lynch, Jalen Richard

WR. Amari Cooper, Cordarrelle Patterson

WR. Michael Crabtree, K.J. Brent

WR. Seth Roberts

TE. Jared Cook, Clive Walford

TE. Lee Smith, Ian Silberman

LT. Donald Penn, David Sharpe

LG. Kelechi Osemele, Oni Omoile

C. Rodney Hudson, Jon Feliciano

RG. Gabe Jackson, Vadal Alexander

RT. Marshall Newhouse, Ian Silberman

Defense

DE. Mario Edwards Jr, Denico Autry

NT. Justin Ellis, Darius Latham

DT/DE. Eddie Vanderdoes, Jihad Ward

DE/OLB. Khalil Mack, James Cowser

SLB/OLB. Bruce Irving, Shilique Calhoun

MLB. Marquel Lee, Tyrell Adams

WLB/MLB. Cory James, Jelani Jenkins

CB. David Amerson, Gareon Conley

SS. Karl Joseph, Obi Melifonwu

FS. Reggie Nelson, Keith McGill

CB. Sean Smith, Dexter McDonald

NB. T.J. Carrie

Specialists

K. Sebastian Janikowski

P. Marquette King

 Breakdown

Offense:

The Raiders offense was rolling all year until Derek Carr went down near the end of the season. He was in the midst of his best season and a MVP candidate and if he picks up where he left off in 2017 the Raiders will be back in business. At running back the Raiders will have a new face in Marshawn Lynch who should be refreshed after retiring for a year and deciding to return home. With him being gone from the game for a whole year it is hard to know exactly what to expect. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree were one of the best receiver tandems in the league in 2016 and figure to be again in 2017. Crabtree has never looked better since he has gotten with the Raiders and Cooper is on the verge of being an elite receiver now that he has cleaned up the case of the drops he had early in his career. Seth Roberts is a solid option in the slot as well. The Raiders have not been able to get quality tight end play in recent years but perhaps that changes this year with the free agent acquisition of Jared Cook who had the best year of his career last season with the Packers. The Raiders also have one of the better offensive lines in the league. The interior is especially good led by one of the best centers in the league Rodney Hudson who had the third best overall grade at his position by pro football focus. Left guard Kelechi Osemele is also an elite player. He came over as free agent last season from the Ravens and proved why he was one of the most sought after players on the market last offseason with a terrific showing in his first season with the Raiders which should be the first of many. Gabe Jackson is the other guard and he has been a really productive starter for the team since they drafted him back in 2014. Left tackle Donald Penn is oldest of the group and is still playing at a high level but is current holding out due to a contract dispute with the team. But he is one of the better tackles on the field and at some point will get things worked out and be back on the field. The one weak link of this group will be free agent pickup Marshall Newhouse who was brought in to replace Austin Howard at right tackle. The Raiders were an elite offense last season and with mostly everyone returning and potentially upgrading at running back (depending on what Beast Mode has left in the tank) there is no reason why they should not be just as good if not better in 2017.

Defense:

The Raiders defense had it’s share of ups and downs last season and will be looking for more consistency in 2017. It all starts with defensive end/outside linebacker Khalil Mack who has been dominant ever since he stepped onto the field back in 2014. He lines up at different positions and is moved all over the place within the Raiders hybrid defense. At the other end spot is Mario Edwards Jr. who had the potential to be a breakout player last year but his season was cut short and he only ended up playing in two games. He will be looking to have that breakout year in 2017 now instead. Both Dan Williams and Stacey McGee are gone which leaves the Raiders a little thin in the interior. Justin Ellis will be taking over the 1 technique/nose tackle spot for the Raiders. He did ok vs the run in the limited action he saw last season but will need to pick it up as he does not really offer much as a pass rusher. The team’s third round pick Eddie Vanderdoes had jumped out as the early favorite to take over the 3 tech/end position. With Jihad Ward currently on the P.U.P. list there really is not anyone else to challenge for it. Bruce Irving is another player that moves for this defense. He plays sam and will linebacker and on the edge as well. He is a talented player with incredible versatility to his game as he can rush the passer, play the run and cover. The more traditional linebacker roles are currently up in the air but Marquel Lee and Cory James are currently the favorite to have those jobs. The Raiders have a decent trio of corners in Sean Smith, David Amerson, and T.J. Carrie. Smith and Amerson will play the outside corner spots and Carrie will man the slot. It is one of the biggest and physical group of corners in the league as all three are 6 foot or taller and over 200 pounds. Also look out for first round pick Gareon Conley to maybe work his way into the corner rotation. On the back end Reggie Nelson is still going strong at free safety. He had five interceptions last season and you can hardly even tell he is going on 34 years old. The much younger Karl Joseph looks like he is on his way to being a pretty good player in his own right. He started at strong safety as a rookie last season and validated his first round draft status. Overall the Raiders have some playmakers on defense but overall as a unit they are slightly above average at best.

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