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Raiders draft series: Roster breakdown, biggest needs on offense

Updated April 13, 2024 - 4:30 pm

With so much focus on the Raiders’ quarterback needs, it’s easy to overlook other roster holes.

They have multiple starting job openings from offensive line to cornerback, and depth is a concern at other positions.

Over the next seven days, the Review-Journal will break down the Raiders’ offensive and defensive rosters and provide in-depth looks at whom they may turn to in the draft to address specific positions.

Our series starts with a breakdown of the offense:

Running back

Under contract: Zamir White, Alexander Mattison, Ameer Abdullah, Brittain Brown, Tyreik McAllister, Sincere McCormick

Level of need: Moderate

Breakdown: The Raiders were confident in the competitive offer they presented to Josh Jacobs, so they were surprised by the star running back’s departure in free agency. The presence of White, who shined over the last four games of last season when Jacobs was injured, softens the blow. But now he has to prove he can do it for an entire season.

Mattison, a free-agent pickup from Minnesota, could benefit from a return to a supporting role after struggling as the main man last year with the Vikings. Abdullah has shined as a change-of-pace third-down back and special teams ace. Brown missed all of last season with a leg injury, but the Raiders remain intrigued by the 2022 draft pick.

Draft plan: The Raiders are in good shape at this position and won’t feel they have to address it in the draft. Nevertheless, the diminished draft priority the NFL puts on this position should mean some quality players are available in the middle to late rounds. It makes sense for the Raiders to take advantage by investing in a high-upside running back in those rounds.

Wide receiver

Under contract: Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Tre Tucker, D.J. Turner, Kristian Wilkerson

Level of need: Sneaky big

Breakdown: Adams and Meyers are as good as it gets as a one-two punch, and improved play from Raiders quarterbacks should help the duo. Tucker flashed as a rookie last year and has the tools to be a dynamic playmaker on long balls and packages that take advantage of his speed. For him to become a trusted third receiver, though, he must refine his route-running and overall awareness.

Turner turned into a quality special teams player over the last eight weeks of last season but played just 12 offensive snaps. Wilkerson showed promise during the preseason but was on the field for just 42 regular-season snaps.

Draft plan: Adams is under contract through the 2026 season, but his guarantees will be paid out by the end of this season. The non-guaranteed $35 million he is scheduled to make in 2025 can be restructured, but the possibility of the Raiders moving on from the 31-year-old Pro Bowler after this season cannot be ruled out.

The contract guarantees of the 27-year-old Meyers also expire after this season, so the same principles apply to a player scheduled to make a non-guaranteed $10.5 million in 2025. Don’t be surprised if the Raiders dip into a deep wide receiver class to cover the potential loss of Adams or Meyers after this year, as well as add depth at the position.

Tight end

Under contract: Michael Mayer, Harrison Bryant, Cole Fotheringham, Zach Gentry, John Shenker

Level of need: Small

Breakdown: Mayer is a breakout candidate and should thrive in new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s scheme. Free-agent addition Bryant has improved as a blocker over the past four seasons and is ideally suited as a No. 2 tight end. Fotheringham has been in the program since 2022 and could be in line to win the third spot out of camp. Gentry, a late-season pickup last year, is a five-year veteran with 39 catches on his resume and a solid blocking profile.

Draft plan: With other pressing needs to address, the Raiders could pass on this position in the draft.

Offensive line

Under contract: LT Kolton Miller, LG Dylan Parham, C Andre James, T/G Thayer Munford, T Dalton Wagner, T Jalen McKenzie, G Jordan Meredith, C/G Ben Brown

Level of need: Urgent

Breakdown: By securing center Andre James to a contract extension, the Raiders solidified three positions, with Parham at left guard and Miller at left tackle. The right side is an entirely different story because of tackle Jermaine Eluemunor’s departure to the Giants and the uncertain status of free-agent guard Greg Van Roten. That creates a gaping hole at two positions, with limited options to close it.

Munford’s 14 career starts are the highest among the Raiders’ remaining linemen. If the season began today, he would have the inside track at right tackle. The Raiders have also mentioned him as a possible guard candidate.

Of the rest, only Meredith and Brown have appeared in an NFL game. Wagner was signed as an undrafted free agent last year and showed promise in training camp, but an undisclosed injury at the end of camp landed him on season-ending injured reserve. He has upside, but how much can the Raiders count on him as a potential starter or swing tackle?

Draft plan: With the 13th pick overall, the Raiders are in a great position to add one of the best offensive tackles in the draft. If they use that pick to address quarterback, the depth at tackle is so deep that they could find a starter in the second or third rounds. The guard class is equally deep, with several quality candidates potentially available in the third and fourth rounds. Free agency could also provide some options, with some veterans likely waiting until after the draft to find ideal landing spots.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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