Raiders

Raiders

INDIANAPOLIS – The Raiders signed offensive lineman Denzelle Good to a one-year contract extension, as the team announced Saturday morning.

Smart move.

The versatile veteran played well in three starts at right guard at last season’s end, growing quickly within the system after signing with the Raiders in Week 14.

He won’t play there permanently. Right guard is Gabe Jackson’s spot. Will be for years.

Good’s return addresses depth issues exposed last season, when a once-dominant offensive line fell on hard times.

The unit gave up 52 sacks, the highest total since Derek Carr became the Raiders' starting quarterback in 2014. It struggled against the run at times, limited what an already deficient unit could do offensively.

Center Rodney Hudson wasn’t a problem. He was as great as ever, possibly the Raiders best player regardless of position. Jackson and Kelechi Osemele struggled with injury. The flanks were suspect thanks to rookie tackles starting on the left and right.

One bad year, however, doesn’t necessitate a complete overhaul. Hudson is a lock at center, and Gabe Jackson will be back at right guard. The Raiders have great confidence in 2018 first-round pick Kolton Miller, who will return to left tackle. It’s not hyperbole to say the Raiders think he’ll be a Pro Bowler several times over despite his rookie struggles while battling through significant knee issues.

 

Last year’s third-round right tackle Brandon Parker was forced into action after Donald Penn landed on IR early, and struggled mightily at times. Growth is expected in his second year – he’s training with Jackson, and bulking up – but it’s no lock he’s able to be the consistent presence needed on the right.

The Raiders will look to add competition there through free agency or the draft, even with Donald Penn returning in his mid-30s. While he might go too high for the Raiders liking, the coaching staff liked Kansas State’s Dalton Risner at the Senior Bowl. He could be an option at the right spot, among several others in the draft.

Osemele has been dominant but makes roughly $10 million next season and can be cut without dead money attached, so there’s some mild uncertainty about his return even if it’s still expected.

“It was up and down a little bit, but he’s a starting left guard in the NFL,” Raiders GM Mike Mayock said. “There aren’t all that many guys in that category.”

The Raiders have a big decision to make regarding Jon Feliciano, a swing interior lineman who has been invaluable in recent seasons. He’s set for unrestricted free agency, and has proven a capable starter in this league.

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There could be competition for his services – he has put plenty of good work on film – and losing him would be a blow. Good could step into that role inside, though backup center would still be required.

The Raiders don’t need to completely retool the offensive line like several other position groups.