Raiders

Raiders roster analysis: Offense few additions away from being dynamic

Raiders roster analysis: Offense few additions away from being dynamic

The Raiders offense is a few pieces away from being truly dynamic. They’re well-stocked at several spots, with immediate help needed in others.

We’re taking a close look at the team’s offense and defense this week on all platforms, with a podcast, stories and player rankings devoted to the offensive and defensive units.

We’ll focus first on an attack coordinated by Jon Gruden and executed by longtime Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, entering his seventh season as the starter.

Let’s take a look at the current state of each offensive position group and whether they need help in the short or long term:

Quarterback

Starter: Derek Carr

Top reserves: Marcus Mariota, Nathan Peterman

State of the position: The Raiders are incredibly deep at the position, will all three signal-callers armed with starting experience. Carr’s the clear-cut starter and Mariota ranks high among the league’s best backups. That pecking order should remain most of the year, with Carr assisted by a talented supporting cast. He’s in a great position to thrive in 2020, with Mariota offering competition and collaboration in the quarterback meeting room.

Help wanted?: This is a big year for Carr and Mariota. Quarterbacks are well-positioned for success, and struggles in 2020 could lead the Raiders to look in a different direction next offseason. If Carr thrives, he could cement himself as the starter through the remainder of his contract. Mariota can’t overtake Carr, he may want to go elsewhere next year. The Raiders could draft a young quarterback to develop, but they don’t need one.

Receivers

Starters: Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Nelson Agholor

Key reserves: Zay Jones, Marcell Ateman, Keelan Doss

State of the position: This group is missing a true No. 1. Williams is an excellent secondary option and should be better than he was in 2019, when he was dealing with foot issues. Renfrow’s a quality slot receiver who showed great chemistry with Carr down the stretch. Jones didn’t do much after an in-season trade. Agholor’s only listed as a starter until the NFL draft.

Help wanted?: The Raiders need a frontline starter they’re expected to find in the NFL draft’s first round. They could add another pass catcher in the later rounds to add depth and top talent to a position group that desperately needs more of both.

Running backs

Starters: RB Josh Jacobs, FB Alec Ingold

Key reserves: Jalen Richard, Rod Smith

State of the position: The Raiders are in great shape in the backfield, with Jacobs an elite feature back who does most everything well. Richard’s as good a third-down option as you’ll find, and Ingold a versatile fullback who works extremely well with Jacobs.

Help wanted?: The Raiders could use a young, bruising back to spell Jacobs and bring a different size and skill set to the running back room. Jacobs can be physical between the tackles, but a larger runner could help supplement an already strong ground game.

Tight ends

Starter: Darren Waller

Key reserves: Foster Moreau, Jason Witten, Darren Waller, Nick O’Leary

State of the position: There’s plenty of depth and talent in this group, so much the Raiders could keep a fourth tight end on the 53-man roster. Waller’s an elite receiving talent, Witten’s aging but still has something left and Moreau’s a solid run blocker and red zone threat. Carrier’s a glue guy who provides quality depth

Help wanted?: The Raiders are well stocked for 2020, with Waller and Moreau anchoring the position group for a long time.

Offensive line

Starters: LT Kolton Miller, LG Richie Incognito, C Rodney Hudson, RG Gabe Jackson, RT Trent Brown

[RELATED: NFL plans for normal 2020 season despite pandemic]

Reserves: OG Denzelle Good, OG Eric Kush, OT David Sharpe, OT Brandon Parker, G/C Andre James

State of the position: The Raiders have spent heavily on the offensive line, which should be one of the NFL’s best when healthy. They used roughly 28 percent of their salary cap on the starters alone, so they’d better be. Brown and Hudson are at the top of their field, with strong guard play expected if Jackson regains old form. They have depth on the interior, with Good more than capable in a starting role.

Help wanted?: The Raiders could use some depth at offensive tackle, maybe coming from the NFL draft’s middle rounds. Parker has struggled in pass protection and Sharpe is improving but has to continue his development.

NFL odds: Raiders' Josh Jacobs a favorite to score first Las Vegas TD

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USATSI

NFL odds: Raiders' Josh Jacobs a favorite to score first Las Vegas TD

The Raiders’ home opener in Las Vegas is scheduled for Sept. 21 on “Monday Night Football” against the New Orleans Saints.

Which player will score the first regular-season touchdown at Allegiant Stadium?

You can bet on that proposition at the Westgate sportsbook, which posted odds on 18 players.

“They always talk about things that are established years later. Trivia-type things, like who was the player that scored the first touchdown at the stadium in Las Vegas,” Westgate vice president of risk Jeff Sherman said. ” We just wanted a wagering option similar to that.”

The Saints are 4½-point favorites over the Raiders, and the total is 50½ points.

[RELATED: Raiders' three key camp battles]

New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara is the 5-1 favorite to score the first TD, Saints wideout Michael Thomas is the 6-1 second choice, and Las Vegas running back Josh Jacobs is the 8-1 third pick.

SEE FIRST LAS VEGAS TOUCHDOWN ODDS HERE

 

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Raiders pick North Dakota State QB Trey Lance

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Getty

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Raiders pick North Dakota State QB Trey Lance

Is there room in Las Vegas for yet another quarterback? Maybe.

In a 2021 NFL Mock Draft by CBS Sports, writer R.J. White has the Raiders selecting North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance with the No 12 overall pick in the first round. 

The keyword White uses here is “upside,” and that word is synonymous with Jon Gruden’s offensive strategy. He wants it all.

But what would that mean with who they have right now? 

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

Derek Carr holds that top spot, and despite the rumors of him and Gruden not seeing eye-to-eye, the two apparently get along swimmingly. Naturally, sometimes they’ll bump heads, but that’s standard.

Behind him is Marcus Mariota who has the experience and is a great leader. He also stands to push Carr to be a better quarterback. He’s signed through 2021 with Nathan Peterman, a Gruden favorite, rounding up the current squad.

For Carr, well, it could initially appear to be bad news for the QB who was booed off the field for the team’s final game in Oakland, but that might not be the case.

He sent a strong message to the haters after that happened, but the Mariota pressures could be a positive. He’s not going anywhere, but this could be a glimpse into the future. 

[RELATED: Carr sends message to the haters]

But … for the heck of it. Here’s a clip of Lance:

Carr gets a lot of hate. That was one of Pat McAfee’s questions when he spoke to former Raiders receiver Jordy Nelson recently. But he knows that’s all part of the package. Despite some rumors of trade talks during the combine, those appeared to have died down.