Welcome to the Marshal Yanda edition of the Oakland Raiders 2011 NFL free agent targets. If you missed it, and you're interested, check out the Jammal Brown, the Tyson Clabo and the Willie Colon editions by clicking on the links. Just to repeat myself I think signing a player with tackle experience needs to be the first priority of free agency. It would be even better if the person they sign is one of the better free agents on the market.
This is an incredibly young offensive line group. There needs to be one consistent and proven player for the Raiders to count on, and for the rest of the linemen to learn from. In other words, the line needs its rock. That being said, there are not many of those guys available, and this next guy may not really be available at all.
Marshal Yanda is entering his fifth season, and the Ravens did place an undisclosed tender on him. So, if the 2010 rules governing free agency exist you can likely cross Yanda off the list. In the increasing likelihood that they will be operating under a new CBA Yanda could very well be an unrestricted free agent. Jump over....
Whatever the rules are for free agency teams will be competing with the Ravens to sign him. Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh had this to say at the NFL Combine and quoted in The Baltimore Sun:
That's going to be a priority for us. ...I think he's a good player obviously, a very good player. He's one of my favorite guys. He knows that. As a coach, you want those guys back.
Yanda is looking at a good payday, but a guard sized payday. And that is largely due to the fact he is an average to below average right tackle. At 6'3" and 315 pounds he is short for a tackle, but he is just about right for a guard. Which ideally is what Yanda is.
He was forced to play tackle last year after Jared Gaither was lost for the season. Yanda performed admirably for being out of position. Pro Football Weekly charted him for allowing 6.25 sacks, three false starts and zero holding penalties.
Personally, I like Marshal Yanda at right guard. I think that's his position. He's a dominant puller. He's physical. If you can put a nice, big right tackle next to him, that would really help.
Yanda is a hard-working coachable player, and he plays with attitude. He moves very well, and he will only be 27 when the season is supposed to start. He would be a serviceable tackle while the Raiders groom Joe Barksdale and/or Bruce Campbell for the position. And when ever they are ready to take over that tackle spot this guy is a pro bowl caliber guard.
Yanda would be an interesting and versatile piece for the Raiders While I'd prefer they signed someone who is more of a pure tackle Yanda would do the trick and be a mainstay at guard down the line.