0 of three
Christian Petersen/Getty Pictures
The Las Vegas Raiders have been one of many NFL’s most talked-about groups this offseason, and for good cause. They’re coming off a playoff berth, added a brand new head coach in Josh McDaniels and landed two enormous additions in Chandler Jones and Davante Adams.
Expectations are excessive for the Raiders, and so they’re embracing them.
“Who wouldn’t want the expectations to be high?” tight finish Darren Waller stated, per The Athletic’s Tashan Reed. “We feel like the character was developed last year. When you have a mixture of talent and character, I feel like that’s what allows you to accomplish what you want to accomplish. We welcome those expectations.”
Whereas Las Vegas expects to be a contender in 2022, this doesn’t suggest that it’s a excellent group. The Raiders must be higher than they had been a yr in the past, however they nonetheless have some weaknesses, on paper, heading into coaching camp.
Right here, we’ll dive into the three largest query marks surrounding the Raiders with camp approaching. We’ll dive into what these weaknesses might imply for the common season and the way they could be addressed within the coming months.
1 of three
Steve Marcus/Getty Pictures
The addition of Jones provides Las Vegas one of many higher pass-rushing duos within the league. He joins 2021 Professional Bowler Maxx Crosby to type a tandem that produced a mixed 18.5 sacks final season.
Accidents occur, although, and depth is extraordinarily necessary within the NFL. That is the place Las Vegas is missing, and if both Jones or Crosby misses important time, the protection may very well be in hassle. The group traded Yannick Ngakoue to the Indianapolis Colts this offseason for cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, and there simply is not a lot depth at edge-rusher.
Crosby and Ngakoue had been the one Raiders gamers to log greater than 5 sacks final season.
2019 fourth general choose Clelin Ferrell continues to be on the roster, however he had simply 1.5 sacks final season and may not even play on the sting usually this yr.
In response to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Evaluate-Journal, Ferrell has been getting reps at defensive sort out this offseason.
If new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham can lastly unlock Ferrell’s potential, it will be preferrred. The Raiders may also hope to see a surge from free-agent addition Kyler Fackrell, who hasn’t had greater than 5 sacks since 2018.
Nonetheless, it will make a ton of sense for Las Vegas to proceed strengthening the place. Bringing again Carl Nassib may very well be an choice, and guys like Ryan Kerrigan and Anthony Barr stay unsigned.
2 of three
Ethan Miller/Getty Pictures
If the Raiders’ cross rush can’t maintain up, it may put a variety of stress on a cornerback group that has its justifiable share of questions.
Ya-Sin joins Trayvon Mullen Jr. as a starter on the perimeter. Nonetheless, there is not a ton of confirmed depth after these two. Las Vegas parted with one other reliable starter, Casey Hayward, in free company.
Nickelback Nate Hobbs confirmed promise as a rookie in 2021, ending with an opposing quarterback ranking of 92.1. Nonetheless, he nonetheless solely has 16 video games and 9 begins on his resume. Free-agent addition Anthony Averett is coming off a powerful marketing campaign with the Baltimore Ravens, however he hasn’t been constant as a professional.
In 2020, Averett allowed an opposing quarterback ranking of 105.6 in protection.
Mullen’s harm historical past and lack of consistency add to the uncertainty within the cornerback room. The 2019 second-round choose missed video games with foot and toe accidents final season and gave up 5 touchdowns the earlier season.
With Hayward out of the image, it will behoove Las Vegas to think about a free agent like Joe Haden or Trae Waynes as another choice. The Raiders ranked a strong thirteenth in passing yards allowed final yr, however the cornerback depth is not what it must be for a group with championship aspirations.
3 of three
Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Pictures
That is the large one. There is no such thing as a larger weak spot, on paper, than the Raiders’ offensive line proper now.
Final season, the Raiders line surrendered 40 sacks and paved the way in which for a dashing assault that ranked twenty seventh within the league. Kolton Miller was dependable at left sort out, however issues had been far shakier on the suitable aspect.
2021 first-round choose Alex Leatherwood was notably disappointing.
The previous Alabama sort out was moved to protect, the place he struggled. He
was accountable for 14 penalties and eight sacks allowed in 2021,
based on Professional Soccer Focus.
The Raiders did not make a significant transfer to deal with their line, with rookie third-round choose Dylan Parham being the most important addition.
Ideally, Las Vegas will strengthen its line with camp competitors—and new offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo is already difficult his unit.
“I’ve had an opportunity to start challenging them on some of those things of what you want your resume to be. When you put the film out there, what’s your resume?” Bricillo stated, per The Athletic’s Tashan Reed.
Nonetheless, it would not harm to think about including a free agent like heart J.C. Tretter or proper sort out Bryan Bulaga to the combination. Proper now, the Raiders’ line does not seem like significantly better than it was a yr in the past, and it wasn’t superb.
If the road does not enhance, it’ll probably be the one weak spot that stops Las Vegas from being a real title contender this season.
*Superior statistics from Professional Soccer Reference until in any other case famous.