dhe Oakland Raiders made many headlines already this offseason. For good reason, they have three first round picks and essentially control the draft. Do not forget the $70 million in cap space.
Cementing Carr’s Status
One of the biggest developments during the combine revolved around Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden validating Derek Carr as the franchise QB of the present and future. That is cool because there is one less position for the Raiders to worry about considering there are rosters throughout the entire roster.
That means the Raiders need to hit this draft out of the park. Their roster is littered with wholes and they need to hit on all their early round draft picks. Mayock and Gruden have talked about the type of player they’ll look for in future Raiders. That includes looking for a player who, ‘loves ball.” However, we don’t know much more about the Raiders strategy beyond that because Mayock and Gruden.
How will the Raiders use their precious draft capital?
Will they target offense or defense? Or replace Amari Cooper or Khalil Mack first? Will they build a team predicated on defense or will they build around Derek Carr?
Offense should be the Raiders’ top priority in the draft considering they’ll still pay Carr over $20 million this season. They need to surround him with talent if they want to win. Sure, the Raiders need pass rushers and this draft is loaded with talent across the front-seven. That’s precisely the case in free agency too.
Lucky for the Raiders, the past few drafts have been loaded with talent on defense. That means teams have stake in players on the roster, which means less interest in giving veterans big contracts. The price on getting free agents should go down.
The Raiders should spend on veteran defenders in Free Agency. They invested heavily in the defense during the NFL Draft last year and they should target some key veterans on defense.
In terms of the draft, the Raiders can find strong talent at the end of the first or the second round. That puts a premium on offensive talent early in both the draft and free agency. The Silver and Black cannot afford to sit out that first wave of offensive players and be left with scraps.
While the offensive group isn’t as strong as the defensive prospects as a whole, that means offensive needy teams will reach on receivers. Oakland might need to do the same to ensure they get the right playmakers that fit their scheme.
Development is crucial for the Raiders as they enter a new regime with a new market very soon. It is critical they find offensive talent that fits their development plans.
Gruden and Mayock might be more willing to buy a defense but the offensive coach is going to want to develop his own players. That’s how he gets key offensive players who fit the character and play style Gruden wants, precisely.
Thus, it’s easy to think the Raiders need defense. They do and there’s an argument for drafting a majority of defenders with their five picks in the top-100. However, the market will tell them to go in an offensive direction. Supply and demand should drive the Raiders offseason focus towards the offense, first.