After the Raiders traded down, drafted Kolton Miller and trading for Martavis Bryant, a new era began. With the anticipation of snaring a premier defender, many thought the Raiders would head in a different direction. However, as shown, the Raiders appear to stick to their plan, regardless of popularity and fan beliefs.
When the Denver Broncos selected NC State Bradley Chubb, did the McKenzie/Gruden braintrust flinch? Playing alongside Von Miller and Shane Ray, Chubb gives Denver another upfield headache. Meanwhile, the Raiders boast only Donald Penn as the lone tackle option that poses skilled opposition to a pass rush.
Enter Kolton Miller. While many believed the Raiders would select a lineman, no one believed that Miller would fill that role. As a result, the 15th overall pick for a project tackle seems a reach. Miller lacks the consistent pad level and anchor to slide into left tackle immediately. On the other hand, the Raiders seem to possess an otherworldly belief in Tom Cable’s abilities to “fix” any lineman.
In contrast, Oakland had their share of Round 2 tackle options that appear better fits. First, Oregon OT Tyrell Crosby could slide into either tackle spot and succeed. If you think Miller is appreciably better than Crosby or Connor Williams, what proof exists? From the outside, Miller looks like a reach to combat the impending pressure of Miller, Chubb, Houston, Ford, Ingram, and Bosa.
If you look at Martavis Bryant on film, the Raiders made the shrewd deal. However, looking deeper, the Raiders are shoving their chips in on a risky player. The elephant in the room are the PED violations. In 2015, the NFL suspended Bryant four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Now, players usually learn from that four-game penalty as a wakeup call. However, eight months later, the league suspended Bryant for the entire 2016 season for a second substance abuse violation. While the first penalty should have been a wakeup call, the second screams out of control.
With that said, Bryant’s 6’5” frame, explosive vertical presence and 15.2 yards per exception enticed Oakland. When clean and healthy, Bryant provides Oakland with a skilled deep threat that can rip the top off defenses.
In reality, the days of the conventional Reggie McKenzie Raiders are over. Now, whether it is taking a flier on Daryl Worley or trading for Martavis Bryant, the Raiders want to win immediately. For fans, while they may not like the selections, the ultimate goal is the Lombardi. Whether these moves help draw them closer remains up in the air.