Need #1: Linebacker

Notable Free Agents: 

  • Nicholas Morrow (did not standout over 8 starts in 2019, struggles to defend the pass)
  • Vontaze Burfict (appeared to be playing quite well before an illegal hit in Week 4 led to a year-long suspension)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Tahir Whitehead (consistently puts up great tackling production, strong vs the run, but tends to struggle quite a bit in coverage)
  • Marquel Lee (didn't play much before going on IR after a Week 3 injury)

Need Level: Very High

Need to Address: 

  • The Raiders need to add at least two new starting LBs this offseason. Competition and depth are also needed. A complete makeover is in order. 

Updates:

  • Resigned Nicholas Morrow 
  • Released Tahir Whitehead
  • Signed Nick Kwiatkosi (solid all-around LB - he defends the run, covers the ball, and rushes the pass well, a nice and very-much needed addition) 
  • Signed Corey Littleton (tremendously productive LB - 5 sacks, 22 PBUs, 5 INTs over the past two seasons, he's arguably the best coverage LB in football - but is also effective vs. the run and has a knack for making big plays, another awesome LB addition for the Raiders) 
  • Drafted in 3rd Round: Tanner Muse (played safety for Clemson - but will likely move to LB for the Raiders, was a key member of the Tiger's stalwart defense - and had a productive college career, he's got excellent straight-line speed but lacks fluidity and short-area agility, does he have the physicality to make it as an NFL LB? the 3rd round seems a bit early for him) 

Need #2: Wide Receiver

Notable Free Agents:

  • Keelan Doss (2019 UDFA, played in 9 games as a rookie - with 2 starts, reeled in 11 of 14 targets for 113 yards, he is an EFRA so a return is likely, he has some upside) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Tyrell Williams (flashed playmaking ability - 6 TDs, 15.5 ypc - in his first year with the Raiders, but he was not productive enough to justify his $44 million contract - finished the year with only 42 receptions for 651 yards, though it's possible the foot injury that plagued him throughout the season deserves some of the blame, he is a WR2/3 - not WR1) 
  • Hunter Renfrow (2019 5th rounder, outplayed his draft position as a rookie - with a productive 49-605-4 line, should continue his emergence as one of the league's top young slot WRs in 2020) 
  • Zay Jones (failed to emerge as a reliable option in the passing game after coming over in a trade from Buffalo, he will be fighting for a 2020 roster spot)

Need Level: Very High 

Need to Address:

  • The Raiders need to find a WR1 and increase competition/depth across the unit. 

Updates:

  • Resigned Keelan Doss
  • Signed Nelson Agholor (former 1st round pick, he's talented but his career in Philly was defined by unreliability, not a bad low-risk upside signing) 
  • Drafted in 1st Round: Henry Ruggs III (the fastest WR in the draft class, offers game-changing ability anytime the ball is in his hands, few players in the history of the NFL have ever had his combination of speed - 4.27 40 - and jumping ability - 42" vertical... but his production was not eye-popping - only 40 receptions in 2019 - and he was not the #1 (Jeudy), #2 (Smith), or #3 (Harris) option in the AL passing game, whereas Ruggs III projects as dangerous WR2 -Lamb and Jeudy - who were still on the board at #14 - project as superior WR1s)
  • Drafted in 3rd Round: Bryan Edwards (4-year starter, above average size/length/speed, advanced route runner - can work all three levels of the field, good but not spectacular playmaker, drops have been problematic throughout his college career, may have gone a full round earlier if he not broken his foot in February, has starter upside) 
  • Season-ending Injury: Tyrell Williams

Need #3: Cornerback

Notable Free Agents:

  • Daryl Worley (started 15 games in 2019, quality of play has been average, very versatile DB - has experience at outside CB, nickel CB, and safety, lack of speed and burst is at times a limitation)  
  • Nevin Lawson (suspended for the first 4 weeks of the 2019 season, played pretty well upon activation, his primary spot is nickel - but he's versatile enough to play multiple CB roles) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Trayvon Mullen (2019 2nd rounder, grew strong and stronger as his rookie season wore on, will almost certainly enter the 2020 season as a starting CB)
  • Isaiah Johnson (2019 4th rounder, did not play much as a rookie - largely due to injury, was a high upside prospect coming out of college - so a 2nd-year emergence is certainly possible) 
  • Lamarcus Joyner (expensive 2019 free agent signing, had a lot of success with the Rams as a safety but ended up playing as nickel CB with the Raiders - a role he struggled in - as opposing QBs often targeted him with success, his 2020 role is unclear - a move back to safety would seemingly make the most sense) 
  • Keisean Nixon (2019 UDFA, flashed upside in limited snaps, figures to get an extended look this upcoming offseason)

Need Level: Very High

Need:

  • The Raiders appear to have a starting caliber CB in Mullen - after him everything is murky. They need to bring in at least one new starter - and increase depth/competition across the position. 

Updates:

  • Resigned Nevin Lawson  
  • Signed Prince Amukamara (solid veteran CB, not a lock-down corner - and getting older - but still a capable starter) 
  • Drafted in 1st Round: Damon Arnette (2-year starter for the Buckeyes, physical player - in both coverage and run support, has an instinctual feel for the game, plays with confidence, lacks deep speed - but his technique and instincts help make up for that deficiency, can be a little too grabby at times, improved significantly from junior to senior year, don't think #19 is a reach for him - should develop into a great player) 
  • Drafted in 4th Round: Amik Robertson (awesome player - undersized at 5-8 but he doesn't let that hold him back, 14 INTs over 3-year career - took 3 of them back for TDs, plays with an incredible amount of fight, instinct, and fearless energy - he operates like he owns the field, he's quick and twitchy but may lack deep speed, well above-average in run-support - recorded 22 career TFLs, can cover bigger WRs, has the mentality of a player who will survive in the NFL for a long time) 
  • Released Prince Amukamara (not needed with all the young corners on the roster)

Need #4: Safety

Notable Free Agents:

  • Karl Joseph (2016 1st rounder, was considered a bust at one point - but broke through in 2018 and was off to a great start in 2019 before landing on IR in November, he is prototypical box safety, despite recent success front office does not seem to be a fan)
  • Curtis Riley (backup, did not standout across 3 2019 starts) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Jonathan Abram (2019 1st rounder, seemed destined for stardom after a strong training camp/preseason, but a Week 1 injury ended his season before it began)

Need Level: High

Need to Address:

  • The Raiders need to add starting safety across from Abram. Depth is also needed. 

Updates:

  • Signed Jeff Heath (veteran backup and special teamer - not an ideal starter) 
  • Signed Damarious Randall (versatile DB - can cover out of the slot, play centerfield and patrol the box, had an incongruent 2019 season in CLE - 0 INTs and was even benched at one point, but historically has been a playmaker) 
  • Released Damarious Randall (surprising - he was the projected starter, Jeff Heath is now the presumed starter)

Need #5: Defensive Tackle

Notable Free Agents:

  • None

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Maurice Hurst (2018 5th rounder, was not playing well to start the season - but had a strong second half, he's more of a pass rusher than run-stuffer, if he can build off of his late-season momentum a big 2020 could be in store) 
  • Johnathan Hankins (solid veteran nose tackle, offers little to no pass rush but can be a force vs. the run) 
  • PJ Hall (2018 2nd rounder, made 12 starts in 2019 - but only recorded 1.5 sacks, will need to show more in training camp/preseason to make the team in 2020) 

Need Level: Moderate

Need to Address:

  • The Raiders could stand to upgrade the DT spot - this unit struggled to stop the run and generate pass-rush in 2019. 

Updates:

  • Signed Maliek Collins (moderately productive over 4-year career in Dallas, still has untapped potential - though injuries have been a limitation since his college days, has a history with new DL coach Marinelli) 
  • Signed Daniel Ross (missed the 2019 season with an injury - but showed some promise in a rotational role in 2018, like Collins - played under Marinelli in Dallas ) 
  • Released P.J. Hall
  • Signed Datone Jones (veteran depth following the departure of Hall)

Need #6: Quarterback

Notable Free Agents:

  • Mike Glennon (below-average back-up QB, threw 10 passes in 2019)
  • Nathan Peterman (spent the season on IR with an elbow injury,  showed some glimpses of ability in the preseason, seems to be a favorite of Gruden)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Derek Carr (while many believe that Carr's play has been on the downturn since his breakout 2015 season, you can make a strong argument that he's improved considerably since then - in 2019 he completed a career-high 70.4% of his passes for a career-high 4,019 yards -  all while working with one of the league's least proven WR depth charts, that's not to say Carr is perfect and potentially upgradeable, but in a league where good QB talent is hard to come by - the Raiders are fortunate to have him) 

Need Level: Moderate

Need to Address:

  • The Raiders could consider upgrading Carr at starting QB, but at the very least they need to address the backup situation. 

Updates:

  • Resigned Nathan Peterman
  • Signed Marcus Mariota (career in TN was a disappointment and borderline failure relative to him being the #2 overall selection in 2015, the mobile playing style that made him a phenom in college has not translated to the next level - as NFL defenses are much bigger and faster than they are in the Pac 12, the fact that Tannehill was so much more effective at QB has only furthered damaged Mariota's reputation, perhaps a change of scenery will be good for him - but he will never be the QB most imagined he'd be coming out of college) 

Need #7: Defensive End / Edge

Notable Free Agents:

  • Josh Mauro (rotational DL, recorded 0 sacks in 2019, unlikely to return) 
  • Benson Mayowa (effective rotational pass rusher - recorded a career-high 7 sacks in 2019)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Maxx Crosby (2019 4th rounder, was of the league's top rookies - recorded 10 sacks, 16 TFLs, and forced 4 fumbles - if there was a re-draft he'd go in the Top 15, he's a building block going forward) 
  • Clelin Ferrell (2019 1st rounder, had a decent rookie year with 4.5 sacks - but was outshined by Crosby, he has the talent to make a jump in year 2) 
  • Arden Key (2018 3rd rounder, has yet to blossom into a productive rusher - only 3 sacks in 2 seasons, 2020 will be make or break for him) 

Need Level: Mild

Need to Address:

  • The Raiders could use some depth behind Crosby and Ferrell. 

Updates: 

  • Signed Carl Nassib (strong vs. the run, decent pass rusher - 12.5 sacks over the past two seasons, should be a nice rotational fit) 

Need #8: Running Back

Notable Free Agents:

  • Jalen Richard (moderately productive passing-down back) 
  • DeAndre Washington (inefficient runner - 3.6 ypc in 2019 and 3.8 in 2018, Raiders will likely for an upgrade at RB2) 

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Josh Jacobs (2019 1st rounder, was one of the league's most productive rookies - 1,150 rushing yards, 4.8 ypc, and 7 TDs, he is entrenched as the workhorse back and should be a Pro-Bowl mainstay for many years to come) 

Need Level: Mild

Need to Address:

  • The Raiders need to add depth behind Jacobs. 

Updates:

  • Resigned Jalen Richard 
  • Signed Devontae Booker (only 6 touches in 2019, underwhelming career 3.8 ypc, will not be a guaranteed a roster spot) 
  • Drafted in 3rd Round: Lynn Bowden Jr (had a neat college career - made 5 starts at WR in 2019, then 8 as a run-first QB - by the end of the season he had rushed for 1,468 yards, 13 TDs - while also adding 30 receptions for 348 yards - in addition, he excelled as a kick returner, and keep in mind most of this production was vs. SEC opponents, due to a lack of explosive speed and route running prowess he projects as an RB in the NFL - but could be also used as slot WR and gadget QB)
  • Signed Jeremy Hill (did not play in 2019, only 41 total carries between 2017 and 2018, had some success from 2014 to 2016, odd signing with a 3-down RB in Jacobs and Bowden Jr/Richard/Booker behind him)
  • Released Jeremy Hill (why?)
  • Signed Theo Riddick (pass-catching specialist, possible third-down back/Washington replacement)

Need #9: Offensive Tackle

Notable Free Agents:

  • David Sharpe (2017 4th rounder, swing tackle, made 2 starts in 2019 and played well, he's a key backup for the Raiders)

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Kolton Miller (2018 1st rounder, had a brutal rookie year - but showed major improvement in 2019 - started all 16 games at LT, he's a solid run-blocker but struggles with pass-blocking, he hasn't reached his ceiling yet - so it's certainly possible he takes another step forward in 2020) 
  • Trent Brown (huge 2019 FA signing, made 11 starts at RT, proved to be an excellent and stabilizing addition to the O-line, when healthy he is a dominant run-blocker and very effective pass blocker)
  • Brandon Parker (2018 3rd rounder, has struggled mightily when pressed into the starting lineup, will be fighting for a roster spot this offseason) 

Need Level: Low

Need to Address:

  • The Raiders need to address the swing tackle spot.

Updates:

  • Resigned David Sharpe
  • Traded David Sharpe (and a 2021 seventh round pick to Washington for a 2021 sixth round pick, Sharpe seemed to be the favorite at swing tackle - so this is a confusing trade given the light compensation)

Need #10: Interior Offensive Line

Notable Free Agents:

  • None

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Richie Incognito (was excellent over 12 starts at LG in 2019, at 36 years old he is not a long term solution, but for now he's a powerhouse)
  • Gabe Jackson (among the league's best guards, though his name has popped in trade rumors - in large part due to his massive contract/cap hit, he has not gone a full 16 games since 2016)
  • Rodney Hudson (one of the league's best centers, he is an elite player, contract is up after the 2020 season) 
  • Denzelle Good (made 5 starts at guard in 2019 and played well, also has experience at OT, he offers valuable and versatile depth) 

Need Level: Mild

Need to Address:

  • The Raiders need to add some young depth at guard and center - Incognito and Jackson both missed starts due to injury - and neither of them seems to fit into long-term plans at the position. While Hudson is a 2021 FA. 

Updates:

  • Drafted in 4th Round: John Simpson (old-school guard - massive size, excellent length, forceful power, was a 2-year starter at Clemson, he is a very effective run blocker but appears to have limited range when it comes to pass protection, penalties where an issue, has a good grasp on the mental side of the playing the position, there is some starting upside) 

Need #11: Special Teams

Notable Free Agents:

  • None

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Daniel Carlson (only hit on 73% of his FGs in 2019 - he will need to earn the starting kicker job this offseason)
  • A.J. Cole (ranked 5th in the league in terms of punts inside the 20, he has the punter job locked down)

Need Level: Mild

Need to Address:

  • The Raiders need to bring in competition at kicker. 

Need #12: Tight End

Notable Free Agents:

  • None

Notable Players Under Contract:

  • Darren Waller (a great story from the 2019 season - went from rock-bottom to become one of the league's best TEs, was Carr's #1 target in 2019 and may continue to be in 2020)
  • Foster Moreau (2019 4th rounder, showed major promise as a rookie - reeled in 21 of 25 targets and scored 5 TDs, the Waller-Moreau duo could make up one of the league's top TE units in 2020)

Need Level: Very Low

Need to Address:

  • Not much need here - the Raiders have two very young and talented TEs - signed to long-term deals. 

Updates:

  • Signed Jason Witten (peculiar signing - he's first ballot HOFer - but at this point in career offers no dynamic ability as a pass-catcher or blocker, he should be a strong force in the locker room  - but hopefully he will not cut into Moreau's playing time/development)