After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…
To round out the AFC West, on this glorious Good Friday, are the Oakland Raiders.
How Did Last Season Go?
Well ladies and gentlemen… The Oakland Raiders did not have a good season… I don’t know whether you heard?
4-12, trading Khalil Mack, that pick ending up being in the 20’s rather than the top 10 as they thought it would when they rejected the 49ers offer in favour of the Bears. Trading Amari Cooper and then pending no longer actually being the Oakland Raiders and the stadium issues that have come with that.
But aside from the off field stuff, wasn’t that pretty much the plan?
The Raiders gave Jon Gruden a 10 year contract to rebuild the team and with that comes time and lots of it, to rebuild.
SO, with that in mind, did the Raiders actually have a great year since they accumulated 5 first round picks in the next two years? Are the Raiders going to be really good soon??
Maybe. If the 2018 draft was anything to go by, then, no.
On the field it was not good. Like, at all. The team was bad. There were some really bad losses in the season. The best result of the year was undoubtedly a win over the win in week 14 over the Steelers. Obviously the record was 3-10 after that game so ultimately, it didn’t really matter.
The Raiders finished the season with the joint worst record in the AFC.
Cap space: $19m
Draft picks (8): Round 1, 4th,24th & 27th overall,round 2, 35th overall, round 4, 106th overall, round 5, 140th overall, round 7, 218th & 235th overall.
Not a huge deal to talk about here. Donald Penn was meh, Rashaan Melvin will be a loss at corner but isn’t irreplaceable and Jared Cook is the biggest loss… and we’re talking about an above average tight end here. Cook shades that illustrious accolate from Kelechi Osemele. Sick burn for Kalechi there, I’m sure.
Jordy Nelson retired but then again, he wasn’t good last year and the Raiders have brought in a receiver or two… You might have heard.
As I was saying… the Raiders replaced Jordy Nelson with Tyrell Williams. Pysc. Obviously the big addition at wide receiver is Antonio Brown, Mr. Big Chest himself (as decent as Tyrell Williams is).
Antonio Brown is a good player, don’t get me wrong, I have often called him the best receiver in the league, in years gone by. Not anymore however and man, he definitely comes with his own, whether it works out in Oakland is another thing altogether.
Tyrell is a good player too, I know, I’m a Chargers fan, albeit I think he’s a horrendous fit for Oakland and Derek Carr who is one of the league’s worst deep ball throwers, which is the main method to feed Tyrell, traditionally.
Outside of the receivers, Oakland vastly overpaid Trent Brown, in potentially the worst value for money deal in football this off season. They brought in Nevin Lawson from Detroit to complete the corner switch with Rashaan Melvin going in the opposite direction as mentioned.
They also brought in some names like LaMarcus Joyner and Vontaze Burfict, who I don’t care that he’s getting paid, they overpaid. Unless Vontaze Burfict is paying Oakland to suit up, the Raiders are giving him too much money.
The big incomings are yet to come… the NFL draft is less than a week away and Oakland have 4 of the top 35 picks and 6 in the top 106 picks.
That’s a lot of high value picks and a lot of potential to change their football team.
Outlook For Next Year
Tough to say really. If everything clicks for Oakland; if the draft goes well, if Derek Carr has a fantastic season, if Antonio Brown turns back the hands of time and if Gruden doesn’t want to play football from 1998, it may be ok… But man, that’s asking a lot.
Realistically, the Raiders are still the 4th best team in the AFC West. The AFC West plays the NFC North and the AFC South next year, which makes for for a very tough schedule. The Raiders also travel to London for the second year running too, which is great for us UK fans but it isn’t always the best for the teams that make the transatlantic trip.
The Raiders also have to put up with a streak of 6 weeks where they don’t play in Oakland. Which to be is very difficult and is also pretty unjust from the point of view of the NFL schedulers.
At the moment, before the draft has taken place. It’s actually pretty hard to be optimistic about the Raiders chances in 2019. I currently have them down for 3-13. Yeah, sorry about that but come on, make me excited about them! I challenge anyone to do so.
Erm… Anto.. no, I can’t. Yeah, just don’t draft them. Maybe ask me after the draft.