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Raiders mailbag: Defensive additions, plans in forefront

Updated June 2, 2023 - 1:31 pm

The Raiders will begin their mandatory three-day minicamp next week, and unless Josh Jacobs and the club agree on a long-term contract or Jacobs signs his franchise tag tender, don’t expect the Raiders running back to be present.

Jacobs’ situation has been a big-time topic among Raiders fans this offseason, but so have a number of other topics.


Here is a sampling of what showed up in this week’s Raiders mailbag:

Matt Berger (@matt_berger): What is the status of Marcus Peters?

VINCENT BONSIGNORE: The Raiders hosted the free-agent veteran cornerback last month at their Henderson headquarters, but to date, nothing has come of the visit.

Three things could be in play.

First, the Raiders made a number of additions at cornerback via free agency and the draft, and they also brought back a handful of cornerbacks from last year, a handful of whom are young players they have high hopes for.

They could be using their offseason program, which includes next week’s minicamp and one more organized team activity practice, to size up what they have before deciding whether to add players.

Second, Peters is at a stage of his career when participating in OTAs probably isn’t necessary, so he could be waiting until closer to training camp to accept whatever offers might be on the table.

And third, keep in mind Peters played the 2022 season while coming off a knee he injured the season before. Whatever teams are interested him must first decide whether his level of play is still high-end NFL worthy.

DrD (@DrDraiders): What kind of pressure is on Patrick Graham to put forth a formidable defense now that he has his guys?

VB: The word that is probably more apt is urgency, which is running through the building and crosses over both sides of the ball. And it’s an urgency to be better and more efficient both offensively and defensively.

That said, there is also an understanding that it’s going to take time for the defensive roster to be rebuilt as a championship-caliber unit. So there isn’t any sense that the Raiders’ defensive coordinator is under immense pressure to field a substantially better unit.

But there is no doubt his group needs to show considerable progress and, frankly, show growth throughout the season. That includes statistically and in individual and collective development.

Scott Kohl (@KansasRaiderFan): Is there a hidden stat (maybe win rate?) that we’re not seeing with all the mid-grade free-agency signings? Is Dave Ziegler actually just playing Moneyball?

VB: Maybe, although it’s nothing anyone is privy to outside the building.

Given the Raiders’ multiple needs, the plan this offseason was to focus on spreading money around to address as many areas as possible, and in some cases, identify a few up-and-coming players 26 to 27 years old to be brought in on multi-year deals and become players the Raiders can count on for multiple seasons.

The bigger emphasis was on the draft, which this leadership group believes will yield the biggest return. The hope is to build a mostly home-grown, cost-effective roster that creates salary cap space to fill fewer holes than they have had to close over the last two years.

If that is the case, they will be in a better position to sign a big-time free agent or two. The theory being, with fewer weaknesses to address, they can go big-game hunting as needed for high-impact additions rather than having to spread the money around to address widespread needs.

Mack (@CheechsKetchup): Of the undrafted free agents, who has stood out so far?

VB: Have to preface this by saying it’s super early, but McClendon Curtis, the guard from Tennessee-Chatanooga, looks like he belongs. Dalton Wagner, the tackle from Arkansas, stands out physically.

Larry Alvarez (@xrun320x): Your guess on how many wins this year for the Raiders?

VB: High end, nine. If the quarterback gets hurt, that’s a different story.

Brian Jones (@UnlimitedViewNV): Do you think Aidan O’Connell will end up being the Raiders’ starting QB come September?

VB: That would be a huge surprise.

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

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