2014 NFL Offseason: Oakland Raiders
Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents
Oakland Raiders (Last Year: 4-12)
The Raiders were 3-4 at one point during the 2013 campaign, and coming off an upset victory over the Steelers, it appeared as though they'd be a factor in the playoff race. But things quickly fell apart, beginning with Nick Foles' record-setting seven-touchdown performance. Oakland decided to retain its front office and coaching staff, so maybe it'll have more success in 2014 with the quarterback it decides to draft this May.
- Quarterback: Offensive coordinator Greg Olson got the most he could out of Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin, but the Raiders need to find some stability at the quarterback position for the first time since 2002 league MVP Rich Gannon led the franchise to the Super Bowl. They'll be praying that one of Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel will be available at No. 5.
- Left Guard: I wrote this in my 2014 NFL Mock Draft, but Lucas Nix was the worst starting guard in the NFL this past year. Oakland desperately needs to upgrade this spot, perhaps with a second-day selection.
- Two Defensive Ends: Lamarr Houston, Oakland's best player, happens to be a free agent. He'll have to be franchised. There is also a need across for an upgrade across from him.
- Two Cornerbacks: D.J. Hayden didn't play well as a rookie, but he'll be asked to start in 2014. Tracy Porter, Mike Jenkins and Phillip Adams will all be free agents, so the Raiders will need to find some new corners.
- Safety: The Raiders had the league's worst pass defense in the month of December, thanks in part to Brandian Ross' awful play at safety. Charles Woodson, meanwhile, is a free agent. He's a mere shell of his former self. Tyvon Branch will be back, but one more safety will need to be added.
- Running Back: Rashad Jennings and Darren McFadden are both free agents. Jennings shocked everyone by performing well in 2013.
- Middle Linebacker: Nick Roach did not get the job done this past season, as he happened to be a major liability against the run. Oakland needs a three-down linebacker to man the middle so that Kevin Burnett doesn't have to be on the field in passing situations.
- Defensive Tackle: Pat Sims is a nice run-stuffer, but the Raiders don't have anyone to rush the quarterback from the interior.
- Left Tackle: Jared Veldheer missed a big chunk of the 2013 season with an injury, but he played well upon returning to the lineup. He's a free agent, however.
- Wide Receiver: Andre Holmes, Rod Streater and Denarius Moore have all flashed at one point or another, but none of those wideouts are capable of being No. 1 options. Sammy Watkins could be Oakland's first-round pick if all of the quarterbacks are gone.
Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
2014 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Oakland Raiders Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Lamarr Houston, DE, Raiders. Age: 27.
Lamarr Houston, the Raiders' best player, is a strong pass-rusher and is even better at shutting down the run. He'll only be 27 in June, so he deserves a massive contract.
Jared Veldheer, OT, Raiders. Age: 27.
Jared Veldheer missed the first 12 weeks of the season with a triceps tear. Perhaps the Raiders will be able to retain him at a cheaper price as a consequence. If so, they should be happy because Veldheer is a solid blind-side protector.
Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders. Age: 27.
Darren McFadden has been through so many injuries that he's been sapped of all explosiveness. He's averaged 3.5 yards per carry or worse the past two seasons. Perhaps he can rebound in a better offense and become a legitimate threat again.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Raiders. Age: 29.
Rashad Jennings was given a chance to prove himself when Maurice Jones-Drew suffered an injury in 2012, but struggled mightily. That's why it was so surprising that he thrived with the Raiders, outplaying Darren McFadden by a wide margin.
Charles Woodson, S, Raiders. Age: 37.
Charles Woodson is playing on his last legs. He'll be 38 in October.
Vance Walker, DT, Raiders. Age: 27.
Vance Walker is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none defensive tackle. He's passable as a starter.
Mike Jenkins, CB, Raiders. Age: 29.
Mike Jenkins never lived up to expectations, but he started at corner for the Raiders in 2013 and didn't fail miserably. He wasn't very good either, however.
Pat Sims, DT, Raiders. Age: 28.
Pat Sims is a solid run-stuffer who provided a good push in the pocket this season.
Tracy Porter, CB, Raiders. Age: 28.
Tracy Porter intercepted Peyton Manning to clinch a Super Bowl victory for the Saints a few years ago. Now, he's just a mediocre starting corner for the Raiders.
Khalif Barnes, OT, Raiders. Age: 32.
Re-signed with Raiders (1 year)
Khalif Barnes was forced to play left tackle in the wake of Jared Veldheer's injury. This was viewed as a disaster area, but Barnes actually held up pretty well, surrendering only three sacks in 11 starts on the blind side.
- Jason Hunter, DE, Raiders. Age: 31.
- Jacoby Ford, WR/KR, Raiders. Age: 27.
- Tony Pashos, OT, Raiders. Age: 34.
- Usama Young, S, Raiders. Age: 29.
- Andre Gurode, C, Raiders. Age: 35.
- Phillip Adams, CB, Raiders. Age: 26.
- Chimdi Chekwa (RFA), CB, Raiders. Age: 25.
NFL Free Agent Tracker:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors
NFL Free Agent Tracker - March 9
Fantasy Football Rankings - March 8
2014 NFL Mock Draft - March 5
2014 NBA Mock Draft - March 5
2015 NFL Mock Draft - March 2
NFL Picks - Feb. 2
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