90°F
weather icon Clear

Raiders offensive line among NFL’s best

The Raiders added one offensive lineman in free agency. The pickup of Eric Kush, who can play guard or center, was primarily about adding quality depth rather than filling a starting spot.

Their lack of activity is a clear sign that the Raiders are content with their starting unit, a level of satisfaction that should be reflected in this month’s NFL draft. Aside from adding a developmental player on the second or third day, the Raiders probably will stand pat with their starters on the offensive line.

It’s a group that, when fully healthy, was as effective as any other in the NFL last season, the result of resources directed to that position in salary and draft capital the past few years.

The key component has been the addition of tackle Trent Brown through free agency last year. The Raiders devoted four years and $66 million to Brown, with $36.75 million fully guaranteed. His $16.5 million annual average salary is the second highest among offensive linemen behind Philadelphia Eagles tackle Lane Johnson.

Brown was expected to have a robust market coming off the breakthrough season he had with the New England Patriots in 2018. But there were raised eyebrows when the Raiders poured that much money into him. There were even more when they decided to use him at right tackle and stick with Kolton Miller, their 2018 first-round pick, at left tackle.

Given the money invested and how Brown was coming off a solid season protecting Tom Brady’s backside, it was assumed the Raiders would put their big-money player at left tackle and move Miller to right tackle.

That was not the case, however. And looking back almost a year later, they were wise to stick to the plan.

While Brown had experience playing left and right tackle — and excelling at both spots — the Raiders’ coaching staff determined Miller, drafted 15th overall in 2018 out of UCLA, was simply more effective and comfortable at left tackle. So they decided to rely on Brown’s versatility and experience by playing him on the right side.

The Raiders also were wise to add veteran guard Richie Incognito and pair him with Miller on the left side, giving Miller an experienced player to learn from.

Combine that with veteran center Rodney Hudson, guard Gabe Jackson and Brown to the right of the Miller/Incognito tandem, and the Raiders were as talented and strong as they have been on the offensive line in years.

By the end of the season, and despite a bevy of injuries that cost Incognito four games, Brown and Jackson five games each and Hudson one game, the Raiders trimmed their sacks allowed from 52 in 2018 to 29 in 2019 to improve from 27th in the NFL to eighth. The Raiders also averaged 118.3 yards rushing per game, 13th best in the league.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Raiders had the 15th-best offensive line in the league — that factors in the 15 starts they lost among their first-team unit — so there is reason to think their ranking would have been much higher with a healthier unit.

Pro Football Focus also deemed the Incognito/Hudson interior tandem the best in the NFL in pass protection. According to PFF, Hudson allowed just three pressures in 509 pass-blocking snaps, and Incognito allowed only nine pressures in 414 snaps. And only two of those pressures resulted in a sack or quarterback hit.

The injuries enabled the Raiders to develop depth, with a number of reserves seeing action.

Denzelle Good, in particular, responded to an increased workload and earned a one-year contract extension. Good played a career-high 16 games and made five starts, three at right guard and two at left guard.

The Raiders also made a move to retain key reserve David Sharpe, a restricted free agent, or be compensated for his departure by tendering him at his original draft-round level. As a result, if a team should sign Sharpe, the Raiders would get a fourth-round pick in return.

More likely, it means Sharpe will return to the Raiders in 2020 at a salary of $2.133 million. Sharpe played in nine games last season, making two starts for Brown at right tackle and delivering solid performances.

Should Sharpe return, it will put third-year tackle Brandon Parker on notice. Parker made three starts as Brown’s replacement late last season but struggled in all three games. As a result, he was benched in favor of Sharpe.

The Raiders also are bringing back veteran guard Jordan Devey. He started the Raiders’ first four games last season — two at left guard, two at right guard — before suffering a season-ending pectoral injury.

The addition of Kush, who has played 49 games in his six-year career at both guard spots and center, and the emergence of Good give the Raiders’ roster flexibility. Jackson, who is under contract through the 2022 season, has been mentioned as a trade possibility. He is slated to make $9.350 million in 2020.

The Raiders also have center Erik Magnuson and interior linemen Andre James under contract for 2020. Both will vie for reserve spots.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore onTwitter.

Like and follow Vegas Nation
Raiders Videos
Natural turf added to Allegiant Stadium field tray
The massive field tray, which will roll in and out of the stadium, has a fresh layer of natural grass turf for Raiders home games.
Raiders preseason could play bigger role than usual - Video
The Raiders released the team's preseason schedule and this year's matchups could play a bigger role than usual.
Analysis on the Raiders Schedule: Tough Stretches, Season Odds and More - VIDEO
Vegas Nation podcast host Heidi Fang and columnist Ed Graney break down what to anticipate when the Raiders face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a primetime game at Allegiant Stadium, the odds on the team's season wins, what stretches may be the toughest on the schedule and more. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jon Gruden reacts to Raiders schedule - Video
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden shares his thoughts on his team's schedule for the 2020 season.
Raiders to host 4 prime-time games in 2020 - Video
The 2020 NFL schedule has been released and the Las Vegas Raiders are set to host four prime-time games.
Vegas Nation: Raiders to face Brady's Buccaneers after Bye Week - VIDEO
Vegas Nation podcast host Heidi Fang and columnist Ed Graney break down what to anticipate when the Raiders face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a primetime game at Allegiant Stadium on Oct. 25 coming off their bye week. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review Journal)
Raiders will host Saints in Allegiant Stadium home opener - Video
The Las Vegas Raiders will open up Allegiant Stadium by hosting the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 21 for a Monday night matchup.
Vegas Nation: 2020 Draft Special - Tanner Muse Interview
Vegas Nation Host Cassie Soto interviews new Las Vegas Raider and 100th pick in the NFL Draft Tanner Muse.
Vegas Nation: 2020 Draft Special Day 3 - Best and Worst War Rooms
Vegas Nation Host Cassie Soto and Review-Journal sportswriter Ben Gotz discuss the winners and losers of the first ever NFL Virtual draft war room set ups.
Vegas Nation: 2020 Draft Special Day 3 - Draft Analysis
Vegas Nation Host Cassie Soto discusses day three of the NFL Draft and the Raiders final picks with Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney and Raiders beat writer Vinny Bonsignore.
Vegas Nation: 2020 Draft Special - Raiders Day 2 Draft Picks
The Raiders made the 80th, 81st and 100th pick in the 2020 NFL draft selecting Lynn Bowden Jr - Wide Receiver from Kentucky, Bryan Edwards - wide receiver from South Carolina and Tanner Muse - linebacker from Clemson. Vegas Nation Host Cassie Soto discusses the pick with Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney and Raiders beat writer Vinny Bonsignore.
Vegas Nation: 2020 Draft Special - Big Names From Around the League
Review-Journal sports writer Ben Gotz gives an update of some of the big name players taken in the first round of this years NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: 2020 Draft Special - Henry Ruggs III
With the first pick in Las Vegas Raiders history the silver and black drafted wide receiver Henry Ruggs III out of Alabama. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto discusses the pick with Review-Journal Columnist Ed Graney and Raiders beat writer Vinny Bonsignore.
Brent Musburger talks Raiders and the upcoming NFL draft
Broadcaster and Raiders Play-by-Play announcer Brent Musburger discusses the Las Vegas Raiders and the upcoming NFL draft with Review-Journal sportswriter Adam Hill.
Raiders logo goes up on Henderson headquarters - VIDEO
The iconic Raiders emblem gets installed on the team's headquarters and practice facility in Henderson on April 22, 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: Raiders 2020 Draft Preview - Video
Vegas Nation: Raiders 2020 Draft Preview will include a recap of the 2019 draft class, free agency updates and multiple segments discussing the class of 2020. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto will be joined by Raiders beat writers Vinny Bonsignore and Myles Simmons, as well as sports writer Adam Hill to discuss all things NFL draft. The draft preview show also included interviews with 2019 draft picks Hunter Renfrow and Isaiah Johnson.
Allegiant Stadium lights up the night
Crews at the $2 billion, 65,000-seat stadium Tuesday night tested out the architectural light ribbons that run around various sections of the stadium, showing the facility will offer a distinct feel no matter what time of day it is.
2019 NFL Draft Flashback: The Raiders 2019 Draft Class - VIDEO
A look back at the Raiders 2019 Draft Class and an assessment of their production last season. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2019 NFL Draft Flashback: Mayock and Gruden on What Makes a Raider - VIDEO
A look back at what the team of Gruden and Mayock did in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft and what qualities they looked for in players when evaluating them and what went into their decisions to select who they did. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Crews finish Allegiant Stadium roof panel installation in just over a month
The final panels made of ETFE — ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, a fluorine-based plastic — were installed on the 65,000-seat stadium on Tuesday, marking the latest major milestone for the future home of the Raiders and UNLV football.
Raiders request road be named Raiders Way
The Raiders have requested that the road where their Henderson HQ is located be renamed Raiders Way. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mayock: Raiders Need to get Better at Wideout
Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock talked on a conference call about the team's need for a wide receiver and the approach they can take for acquiring one in a talent-rich 2020 draft class. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant Stadium roof install is complete - Video
The full enclosure of Allegiant Stadium was topped off on Tuesday after the final ETFE panels were installed.
Low-Tech Raiders' GM Talks Preparing for Virtual Draft Format - VIDEO
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock discussed on a conference call what he anticipates a virtual NFL Draft to be like and how he is adjusting to newer technology he'll have to use to work effectively during the three-day event. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quarantine with Las Vegas Raiders players – Video
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and cornerback Isaiah Johnson have been doing their best to keep themselves busy during quarantine. Renfrow is spending his time in South Carolina, while Johnson is in Houston. The 2019 rookies both suffered injuries this past season and were hoping to come back stronger than ever the second time around, but the coronavirus had different plans for the NFL offseason. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto spoke with both players and asked how they have been staying in shape as well as what shows they have binge watched during quarantine.
Raiders partner with Three Square - Video
Las Vegas Raiders players, including Hunter Renfrow, Alec Ingold, Josh Jacobs and Foster Moreau, are partnering with Three Square to help make sure those in need have access to food during the coronavirus pandemic.
Raiders extend season ticket dues - Video
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Las Vegas Raiders are extending final season ticket dues until the summer.
Raiders fullback Alec Ingold ready to play in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Raiders fullback Alec Ingold sits down with the RJ and talks about the excitement surrounding the team's move to Las Vegas during off-season training in Wisconsin. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ikem Okeke Trying to get Noticed By NFL Scouts With His Pro Day Canceled Due to Coronavirus - Video
Ikem Okeke is a Bishop Gorman High alum who played his college football at Hawaii. After his pro day was canceled due to the coronavirus, he's attempting to catch the attention of NFL scouts by creating his own workout using the same company that tests at the combine. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Justin Herbert: Forcing Himself to be Uncomfortable to Become an NFL Quarterback
In order to become a prolific quarterback in the NFL, Oregon's Justin Herbert says he is going to have to make himself uncomfortable and put himself in challenging situations in order to improve at his position. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Worker at Allegiant Stadium tests positive for COVID-19
Construction of Allegiant Stadium is unlikely to affected by the coronavirus outbreak that is having an impact on just about every industry across the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Agree to Terms with WR Nelson Agholor - VIDEO
On Saturday the Raiders agreed to terms with wide receiver Nelson Agholor,  offensive lineman Eric Kush, tight end Nick O’Leary and running back Rod Smith, who appeared in the team’s final three games last season as a special teams player. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Agree to Terms with CB Eli Apple - VIDEO
The Raiders have come to terms with cornerback Eli Apple, who last played with the New Orleans Saints. Apple was drafted 10th overall in 2016 by the New York Giants. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders sign LB Littleton, DE Nassib, more
On the second day of the legal tampering period in the NFL, the Raiders picked up linebacker Cory Littleton, defensive end Carl Nassib, tight end Jason Witten and more. Here's a recap of the action from Tuesday. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders strengthen defense in free agency - Video
Some of the Raiders biggest struggles in the past seasons have come from the defense. Now, in free agency, the front office is making big moves to improve that side of the ball. Vegas Nation crew Cassie Soto and Myles Simmons bring you the latest in Raiders free agency.
Raiders make big free agency moves on offense - Video
The Raiders continue to make big moves on offense, including signing long-time Cowboy Jason Witten. Vegas Nation crew Cassie Soto and Myles Simmons bring you the latest in Raiders free agency.
Raiders and Cory Littleton agree to terms - VIDEO
Linebacker Cory Littleton, a 2018 Pro Bowler who played in Super Bowl 53 with the Los Angeles Rams, has agreed to terms with the Las Vegas Raiders. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marcus Mariota is a Raider - Video
The Raiders have signed quarterback Marcus Mariota as a backup to Derek Carr.
A Flyover of Allegiant Stadium At Night - VIDEO
Here's a look at the new home of the Raiders, Allegiant Stadium, at night from this flyover near the Las Vegas Strip.
Raiders Agree to Terms with Mariota, LB Kwiatkoski
A recap of the moves made as the NFL stays open for business transactions with unrestricted free agents being signed during the legal tampering period. The Raiders signed linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski and former Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.  (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: NFL Draft Canceled in Las Vegas, Legal Tampering Period Open - VIDEO
On Monday, the NFL announced the draft and its planned festivities would no longer take place in Las Vegas though the draft itself will still take place Apr. 23-25 as scheduled. The Raiders grabbed former Bears LB Nick Kwiatkoski in the first day of the legal tampering period. The Vegas Nation team breaks down the latest news in this update.(Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Love, Hurts Among QBs Raiders Could Target in NFL Draft - VIDEO
The Raiders may look to select a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft and have 5 picks in the top 100. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts and Utah State's Jordan Love could be among those the team has on their watchlist. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders stadium gets its new name installed
Aerial view of newly installed signage for Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant Stadium sign installation (timelapse) - VIDEO
Watch the name of the new Raiders stadium in Las Vegas go up in less that a minute. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
First signage going up at Allegiant Stadium - VIDEO
As Allegiant Stadium’s exterior has come into form, the dark tinted glass has drawn various nicknames. Now, however, the stadium will begin to reflect its official name. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders sell and lease back headquarters - VIDEO
RJ reporter Eli Segall talks about the numbers behind the sale and lease back of the Raiders headquarters in Henderson and why businesses make these types of land grabs. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST