With the conclusion of thee NFL Draft, the heavy lifting is complete.
You can write the starting lineup for the 2021 Raiders in pencil, eraser in hand for any roster tinkering with undrafted free agents, street free agents or unexpected injuries.
They rebuilt their defense in terms of both scheme and personnel, which is something that needed to be done. They rebuilt their offensive line, and time will tell whether they got younger and more athletic or simply less experienced and less effective.
Here’s how it shakes out:
Quarterback: Derek Carr
Unless you’re buying the Aaron Rodgers possibility (which means you probably also thought Russell Wilson and Tom Brady were heading to Las Vegas within the last year), this remains Carr’s team with Marcus Mariota as the backup.
.Running back: Josh Jacobs
Jacobs will get plenty of work, but the addition of Kenyan Drake means they can back off on the ill-fated idea of making him a 50-plus catch receiver out of the backfield. Jalen Richard is still around for insurance as a receiving back. Coach Jon Gruden is a ground and pound guy, so Jacobs is in his element.
Fullback: Alec Ingold
Good for cut-blocks, special teams and a better receiver than you think. Ingold even took over for the late Willie Brown at the draft, urging everyone to remember their moms on Mothers Day.
Wide receiver: Henry Ruggs III
They didn’t draft him a year ago at No 12 overall for nothing. With something resembling an offseason, in theory becomes a week-to-week threat instead of flashing occasional brilliance. John Brown gets the Nelson Agholor role if Ruggs falters or is injured.
Wide receiver: Bryan Edwards
It’s easy to fall behind in Gruden’s offense with an early injury — especially in a COVID-19 year. Edwards has every chance to ascend in Year 2. Zay Jones, Willie Snead provide insurance.
Slot receiver: Hunter Renfrow
Yes, the Raider move their receivers around, and all are trained in the slot. But none play it like third-and-Renfrow.
Tight end: Darren Waller
There’s really no one like him in the NFL. Foster Moreau could start on a lot of teams and will get plenty of work with Jason Witten out of the picture.
Left tackle: Kolton Miller
The cornerstone of the offensive line with Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson out of the picture.
Left guard: Richie Incognito
There’s some wiggle room here with John Simpson if Incognito shows his age (38), but he’ll be given every chance to run with it for as long as he can.
Center: Andre James
Houston starter Nick Martin was signed in the offseason and Jimmy Morrissey arrved in the draft, but the Raiders tipped their hand when James got a contract extension while still under team control.
Right guard: Denzelle Good
Can play pretty much anywhere on the line except for center, he filled in admirably at left guard and was re-signed as a result. Simpson can back up at either guard spot.
Right tackle: Alex Leatherwood
Everyone hates the pick — or at least hates that the Raiders didn’t trade back and get him anyway. The Raiders think they got the best tackle in …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports
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