Updated May 4, 2022 - 3:18 pm
The Raiders are not done tinkering with their roster, but the heavy lifting of free agency and the draft definitely elevated their talent level.
Offensively, they have a group of wide receivers and running backs that can rival any in the NFL. And if they can develop at least an average line, the offense has a chance to be as good as any in the league.
Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of the offense:
Derek Carr, Chase Garbers, Garrett Gilbert, Nick Mullens.
Analysis: Carr finally has everything he needs to lift the franchise to a new level. Mullens adds experience as the primary backup and has shown he can deliver a dependable level of play. Garbers was signed as an undrafted free agent and could represent the start of the young, developmental quarterback cycle Raiders coach Josh McDaniels wants to build.
Moving forward: Carr is under contract through 2025, and while there is an out after the 2022 season, the Raiders expect Carr to be their starting quarterback through the bulk of the deal. Mullens, Garbers and Gilbert are fine as the backup plan for this season, but expect the Raiders to continue to add young prospects.
Ameer Abdullah, Brandon Bolden, Brittain Brown, Kenyan Drake, Josh Jacobs, Jakob Johnson (fullback), Sincere McCormick, Trey Ragas, Sutton Smith (fullback), Zamir White.
Outlook: The Raiders have developed a deep, versatile running back room. The group should be motivated, as only Bolden is under contract beyond this season among the veterans. Jacobs, who did not have his fifth-year option picked up, and Drake are the two primary backs, and each will be motivated to get new deals in Las Vegas or elsewhere. Bolden adds experience and familiarity from his days in New England, Abdullah has shown he can be a viable change of pace back, and Johnson has been a valuable asset as a fullback. Keep an eye on White, who will challenge for playing time sooner rather than later and probably take a veteran’s roster spot.
Moving forward: The Raiders double-downed at running back in the draft, anticipating the likelihood of some players moving on after the season. White could be the heir apparent to Jacobs. In a one-season vacuum, the Raiders have covered all skill set and situational bases with the group while also building competition and a bridge to the future.
Davante Adams, Nick Bowers (tight end), Bryan Edwards, Cole Fotheringham (tight end), Justin Hall, Mack Hollins, Jacob Hollister (tight end), Tyron Johnson, Foster Moreau (tight end), Hunter Renfrow, Demarcus Robinson, Dillon Stoner, Tré Turner, Darren Waller (tight end).
Analysis: The price to get Adams was steep, but the first- and second-round picks the Raiders gave the Packers are worth it. A case can be made that Adams, Waller and Renfrow are as good as any other trio in the league. Edwards, entering his third season, has a chance to blossom as an overlooked component. Robinson has shown he can carve out a role in crowded receiver rooms, and Hollins combines great special teams’ value with an effective red-zone presence. It will be interesting to see how the new staff incorporates Moreau into the equation.
Moving forward: This is by far the Raiders’ best receiving group in years, and with Renfrow probably getting a new contract extension and Waller under contract for two more years, it’s set for the future.
Alex Bars (guard), Jackson Barton (tackle), Lester Cotton (guard), Jermaine Eluemunor (guard, tackle), Denzelle Good (guard, tackle), Hroniss Grasu (center, guard), Brett Heggie (center), Andre James (center), Alex Leatherwood (guard, tackle), Jordan Meredith (guard), Kolton Miller (tackle), Thayer Munford (tackle), Bamidele Olaseni (tackle), Dylan Parham (guard, center) Brandon Parker (tackle), John Simpson (guard).
Analysis: Other than left tackle Miller, the rest of the line is open for competition. That includes James, who fared well in the second half of last season in his first year as the starting center and probably has the inside track on a starting role. Rookie Parham was mainly a guard at Memphis and could be the starter on either side, but some think he profiles better at center. Leatherwood is a wild card. The Raiders need to decide whether the 2020 first-round pick is a tackle or guard — or even a starter — and the decision will be a factor in determining the roles for Parham, Simpson, Good, Parker and Munford.
Moving forward: The line remains murky relative to the five starters. That isn’t ideal, and there’s a possibility the Raiders will sign a veteran free agent. But there are enough options to build an effective starting group and rotation. That said, Leatherwood faces a crucial season proving he is part of the long-term plan.