Ahhhh… nothing says offseason quite like a little sense of optimism from a fanbase of what should be pretty commonly known as one of the most incompetent franchises in all of sports… but here we are. Raiders are entering year 2 of the Jon Gruden 2.0 era, the slate has been wiped clean and Gruden has brought in friend and draft guru Mike Mayock to help build this team up the way he’d like it.
I’d like to say I know what direction Gruden and Mayock could go this offseason with over $70 Million in cap space, 10 draft picks with 4 coming in the first 35 picks, and many, many needs, but nobody really has a clue at this rate. So let’s not act like anyone really knows what the Raiders could do, I’m just going to focus on what the Raiders should do in my humble opinion.
Re-Sign – Jared Cook, Marshawn Lynch
Free Agent Targets
EDGE – Ziggy Ansah, Trey Flowers, Za’Darius Smith, Cameron Wake
MLB/WLB/SLB – Jordan Hicks, Kwon Alexander, Mark Barron, Anthony Barr, Shaq Barrett
WR – Tyrell Williams, John Brown, Golden Tate
S – There’s so many good ones, just get one.
At the end of free agency, I think the Raiders should come away with a starting S, LB, and either DE, DT or WR. They can fill out some depth with other additions, but these should be priorities. Now on to the draft.
The Raiders will approach the draft one of two ways. One with Derek Carr being their QB of the future, and one without. Lets start with the one without since that is pretty cut and dry. They will either trade enough compensation to move up to 1.1, or sit tight and see if Murray, Haskins or Lock fall to them at 1.4. Then they fill in roster needs with whatever picks they have left.
Now for the draft approach assuming they really do believe Derek Carr is the franchise QB. While the Raiders can certainly add some talent in free agency, I think they should still attack this with a BPA approach since there is so little talent to speak of. So here is a mock draft to see what that may look like through 5 rounds.
There is a million ways to go about this offseason with all the resources the Raiders have and the lack of foundational talent that is on the roster as of now, so it is anyone’s guess. This is just my opinion. Don’t trade for Antonio Brown, don’t sign Le’veon Bell unless either comes fairly reasonable. Find a few upper end starters in free agency with front loaded deals similar to what we did a few years back, and build this thing the right way by utilizing the draft capital we have in what appears to be a very high quality draft class.