Raiders Have Upgraded the Roster, But Is It Still Lacking?

The Raiders are proud of what they’ve done this offseason. Head coach Jon Gruden and new general manager Mike Mayock have restocked the roster with three first-round draft picks and some high-priced veterans such as wide receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams and linebackers Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict.

Some analysts even see the Raiders, who were 4-12 in 2018, making a big jump to competing for the AFC West title.

Yet the Raiders still may not rank among the NFL’s most talented teams, even after all those moves.

The analytic website Pro Football Focus, in fact, noted that not a single projected starter on offense or defense graded at 80.0 or above in 2018, the level where players are judged elite.

The highest-graded Raiders were Brown (79.3), center Rodney Hudson (78.5) and safety Karl Joseph (74.5).

However, as Marcus Mosher of the website RaidersWire noted, not having elite grades doesn’t mean the Raiders aren’t talented. First-round, potential high-impact rookies such as running back Josh Jacobs, defensive end Clelin Ferrell and safety Johnathan Abram don’t come with NFL grades, and Brown, Williams, Hudson, guard Gabe Jackson, tackle Trent Brown, quarterback Derek Carr, cornerback Gareon Conley and safety Lamarcus Joyner all have gone to Pro Bowls or flashed the potential to get there.

As far as wide receivers go, there are few better than Brown, 30, who’s had six straight seasons of more than 1,200 receiving yards and 100 catches and led the NFL in TD receptions in 2018 with 15.

Wrote Mosher: “Overall, the Raiders have massively improved their roster, adding more talent and depth across all positions.”

Gil Brandt, a Pro Football Hall of Fame executive who helped build the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s and ’70s, also believes in Oakland’s talent upgrade, tabbing them as one of the league’s most improved teams going into 2019.

Now, with organized team activities set to begin, the Raiders will start to see if all those new pieces can fit together into a better team.

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