There are four games left in this lost Raiders season. There’s plenty to ponder about which members of this team could impact the 2019 version and how, down the stretch, the Raiders can win another game or two.
Head coach Jon Gruden’s remains on that, not the bounty of offseason moves he can make significant salary cap space and three first-round picks.
“We don’t look ahead right now. We are looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers, that’s all we are doing,” Gruden said Monday. “…We are not looking ahead to nothing except the Pittsburgh Steelers. I can assure you that, at least on our side of the building.”
[RELATED: Steelers RB James Connor out vs. Raiders]
The personnel staff is always looking ahead to the draft and possible free-agent options. That’s the job, to scout and survey and, in this current Raiders hierarchy, inform Gruden so he can properly select.
He’ll have three options in the first round, and one of those selections improved a bit with Chicago finally losing a game. Dallas remains hot and the Raiders are getting better, which could spell trouble for that top pick if the Silver and Black notch another win.
Let’s take a look at where the Raiders first-round picks sit after Week 13 action:
No. 2 overall (Last week: No. 2)
How it was earned: The pick earned with an awful record held steady, yet got stronger with Arizona falling off the pace after an unlikely victory at Green Bay.
Only the Raiders and 49ers are left with two wins, and the Santa Clarans will secure the top spot based on strength of schedule. A third victory would drop the Raiders significantly, below the Cardinals and Jets. This team wants wins down the stretch. Fans may not, considering Nick Bosa fills a need for the 49ers and Raiders.
No. 23 overall (Last week: No. 21)
How it was earned: The Cowboys are on a roll, making the first-round pick traded for Amari Cooper less valuable by the win. That defense is playing awesome, and Cooper is a threat with the ball in hand or as a decoy. This is a hue difference over a month or so ago, when this pick was hovering around the top 10.
No. 26 overall (Last week: No. 26)
How it was earned: This pick received as part of the Khalil Mack package is stuck near the bottom of the first-round a disastrous result considering the edge rusher’s worth. The Bears have two easier games against Green Bay and San Francisco and tougher sledding against the Rams and Vikings. Raiders fans should be losing their voices cheering for the 49ers in Week 16, when a win could vault the Silver and Black and send this pick up a peg.