Raiders

Raiders add veteran cornerback Nevin Lawson to young position group

Raiders add veteran cornerback Nevin Lawson to young position group

The Raiders have a young cornerback corps, in need of experience. That’s where Nevin Lawson comes in. The former Detroit Lions cover man signed with the Raiders on Wednesday night, the team announced, and joins a group headlined by Gareon Conley.

Lawson signed a one-year, $3.05 million contract, a league source said, becoming the second defensive player added in as many days.

Lawson joins Conley and Daryl Worley, fully expected back on a second-round restricted free agent tender, and second-year man Nick Nelson.

High-profile free-agent signing Lamarcus Joyner is a safety by title, but will often play slot cornerback.

Lawson played more in the slot last year than ever, with 389 snaps inside and 402 near the boundaries.

He doesn’t have any interceptions as a professional -- teammates must give him grief over that one -- but has 25 passes defensed. According to analytics site Pro Football Focus, quarterbacks have a 103.3 passer rating when targeting him.

Lawson has been a steady starter the past three seasons and will surely compete for a significant role in Oakland as well. He’ll fight for a spot inside or out, and offers veteran’s experience where there isn’t much at this stage.

It doesn’t eliminate the prospect of drafting a cornerback relatively high, but it will create legitimate position battles this summer.

Lawson’s listed at 5-foot-9, 192 pounds. That’s a bit shorter than the Raiders prefer, but has proven reliable with just four missed games in the last four seasons.

Lawson visited the Raiders facility earlier Wednesday and came out with a contract. Several other defensive backs came in around the same time. That included safety George Iloka, who played for Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in Cincinnati. Reports also stated safety Curtis Riley was in the building. So was cornerback Tyler Patmon, per the Las Vegas Review Journal.

The Raiders could still be on the lookout for safety help on the free-agent market as they fortify the depth chart with lower-cost options after spending big on offense early in the free agent process.

[RELATED: Report: Former Raiders TE Jared Cook nearing Saints deal]

Joyner was the high-profile defensive signing, with defensive lineman Josh Mauro, linebacker Vontaze Burfict and now Lawson in free agency’s later stages.

NFL playoff picture: Where Raiders stand in AFC after loss vs. Jaguars

NFL playoff picture: Where Raiders stand in AFC after loss vs. Jaguars

So you're telling me there's a chance?

Technically? Yes. Realistically? Hell no.

As hard as it might be to believe, the Raiders have not been eliminated from playoff contention yet, even after blowing the final game at the Coliseum on Sunday.

Thanks to the Steelers losing to the Bills on Sunday night, Oakland's postseason hopes aren't dead yet.

In the words of Miracle Max, they're only mostly dead.

Yes, I did just reference two separate comedy classics. After the Raiders' loss to the Jaguars, their fans could use a laugh or two.

By beating Pittsburgh, Buffalo claimed the fourth of six AFC playoff spots, with the Ravens, Patriots and Chiefs having already booked their tickets. Of the two remaining spots, one will go to the AFC South winner, and the other to a wild-card team.

After losing to Jacksonville, the Raiders currently sit at 6-8 on the season. Considering both the Steelers and Titans currently sit at 8-6, Oakland has absolutely zero room for error moving forward. A single victory or tie by either Pittsburgh or Tennessee over the final two weeks of the regular season would eliminate the Raiders, as would a single loss or tie in either of their two final games against the Chargers and Broncos, both of which are on the road.

Even if the Raiders won out while both the Steelers and Titans lost out, that wouldn't necessarily guarantee a playoff berth for Oakland, as both the Colts and Browns currently sit ahead of the Raiders in the AFC playoff hunt.

[RELATED: Raiders' final Oakland game leaves fans mournful, bitter]

Ultimately, in order to qualify for the postseason, the Raiders are going to have to handle their own business and get a lot of help from other results. 

Raiders report card: Grades for offense, defense in 20-16 loss to Jaguars

Raiders report card: Grades for offense, defense in 20-16 loss to Jaguars

OAKLAND – Well, that didn’t go well. The Raiders were hoping to win their last game at Oakland Coliseum for the fans who made this decrepit stadium special, but completely unraveled in the fourth quarter against the Jaguars and blew it.

The Raiders were terrible down the stretch in a heart-wrenching 20-16 loss that will always stick with those who were here to witness it.

Head coach Jon Gruden, who celebrates each victory with the Black Hole, took a quick exit through the tunnel.

Fans mercilessly booed players who stayed on the field to pay respects, even those who tried to engage directly with fans. Objects were thrown on the field. Somebody even sent a perfectly good plate of nachos toward the grass in disgust.

There was nothing redeeming about the end, a failure in every phase down the stretch. That included Derek Carr's final Hail Mary pass, which hit Keelan Doss in the helmet and tumbled harmlessly to the turf.

There are some bad grades a ‘coming in this week’s Raiders report card.

Rushing offense

Josh Jacobs returned from a one-game absence and got right back to his productive ways. He ran 24 times for 89 yards, despite dealing with a fractured shoulder. He has gritted it out since Week 7, succumbing only last week to a painful injury. He was able to keep the offense moving well, bolstering his case to be the NFL offensive rookie of the year.

The Raiders ran for 128 yards on 32 carries, a solid showing behind the feature back they sorely missed a week ago. Jacobs is clearly the team’s best player, who should be respected for his performance and his grit.

Grade: B

Passing offense

The Raiders need a complete overhaul at receiver. They should keep Hunter Renfrow and strongly consider ditching everyone else. This group doesn’t get open enough, with several that Carr doesn’t trust. Tyrell Williams had a 40-yard touchdown to open the scoring but had a huge third-down drop in the fourth quarter that was a major moment in the Raiders loss.

Darren Waller had another big day and has now exceeded 1,000 yards on the season. Waller belongs in the Pro Bowl. Without him, they don’t have much left in the pattern.

Grade: D

Rushing defense

The Jaguars couldn’t do anything on the ground. Leonard Fournette averaged 2.8 yards per carry and the Jaguars had 3.5 ypc as a team. It was another strong effort by Johnathan Hankins and his crew. That helped the defense control most of this game, until the wheels fell off in the fourth quarter.

Grade: B-plus

Passing defense

The Raiders made several changes to their defensive personnel, especially in the sub packages. They seemed to work well early, with the Jaguars struggling to do much of anything through three quarters beyond an early deep shot to Keelan Cole. Then they couldn’t stop the Jaguars at all over two late touchdown drives that stole victory from the Silver and Black.

Maxx Crosby had another sack. Dion Jordan had a strong game as well. Clelin Ferrell didn’t make a huge impact in this one. And, when it mattered most, Gardner Minshew was successful throwing the ball.

Grade: F

Special teams

Daniel Carlson missed from 50 yards out late in the fourth quarter, but he got a redo after a Jaguars penalty. Then he missed from 45 yards out, starting a sequence of events that led to the Raiders' demise. Carlson has missed seven kicks since Week 9. It will be interesting to see if the team sticks with him beyond the season.

Grade: F

[RELATED: Fans mounful, bitter after loss]

Overall

The Jaguars are terrible. Like, really bad. The Raiders had a layup, an easy path to victory in the Oakland Coliseum finale. They blew it. There’s no other way to say it. They couldn’t secure victory with a long final drive. They couldn’t make a field goal after that drive stalled, and the defense couldn’t stop the Jags from marching right down the field for a victory.

This was a failure on every level and sent East Bay fans home for the final time with a bad taste in their mouth.

Grade: F