The Raiders have signed six new players in the past two weeks and re-signed three others. Most teams look to upgrade positions but the Raiders were simply in need of starting caliber players to fill out a roster. Much work has been done but there is still much work left to be done.
Here are the Raiders updated team needs in order of most immediate and/or dire.
The Raiders have been looking at several cornerbacks on the market of late. They re-signed Phillip Adams in the hopes that he can compete for a starting job but even if he can, he has yet to prove he can stay on the field. They are desperate for help which is why they hosted 34-year-old Terence Newman and have shown reported interest in free agents Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter. There are better corners out there (Brent Grimes comes to mind) but not for the money the Raiders have to spend.
2. Free Safety
Michael Huff was the starter at the position for the Raiders through his entire career until he was forced to move to corner last season due to injury. He was replaced by Matt Giordano. Now, both are gone. It appears as if Brandian Ross is the leading candidate for the job as of right now. Yet again, it's simply for lack of other options. Ross had some good contributions late last season at both corner and free safety but it seems unlikely the team is willing to hand him either job outright.
3. Tight End
Brandon Myers was the Raiders leading receiver last season. He is gone now. Even when he was here, the Raiders needed an upgrade. Now they need to replace him. David Ausberry has shown flashes but has yet to prove he can step up and be the guy. Richard Gordon is a big blocker but has never shown he can be anything more than that. There were rumors the Raiders were interested in Kellen Winslow Jr recently. I didn't believe those rumors but just having them out there shows how desperate the Raiders are for help at the tight end position.
4. Defensive Tackle
This might seem a little odd considering the team signed two defensive tackles already. They voided Richard Seymour's contract and lost Desmond Bryant in free agency. That combo was replaced with Vance Walker but he only signed a one-year deal. Tommy Kelly is expected to be released due to his high salary. They signed Pat Sims at his position but he is considered a rotational player. There are two unproven young players in last year's round six pick Christo Bilukidi and reserve/future signee Johnny Jones. A solid, long term solution is still needed.
5. Right Tackle
Khalif Barnes has been re-signed which eases any stress over filling the position. However, this is the third year in a row Barnes has been brought back on a one-year deal. It's clear the team keeps wanting to move on but keeps finding themselves in no position to do so. This might be the year to start thinking about finally developing his replacement.
6. Defensive End
The pass rush in Oakland was the worst it has been in quite some time. Their sack leaders had 4.0 sacks and now three of their top four pass rushers from last season are gone. Only Lamarr Houston remains. The Raiders signed Jason Hunter to play across from him but Hunter has never been more than a situational pass rusher. Behind them is last year's round five pick, Jack Crawford. The Raiders will need to add another defensive end to the mix or quarterbacks will throw all over them again next year.
7. Running Back
There is Darren McFadden and his approximate 12 healthy games per season. Then what? Mike Goodson just left as a free agent. Marcel Reece filled in nicely last season in a pinch but he's a fullback, not a running back. Taiwan Jones is so far out of the picture, the team is going to try him at cornerback. This team needs a backup/part-season-replacement for McFadden something fierce.
8. Wide Receiver
Who's the number one receiver? Darrius Heyward-Bey got the snaps but was never a true number one. He was cut on the first day of free agency. There are several other potential guys that could step into the roles such as Denarius Moore and Rod Streater but we just don't know yet.
9. Offensive Guard
The team has a full front five, technically. The question is if they think last year's third round pick, Tony Bergstrom is the answer at left guard. Cooper Carlisle has not been re-signed which means either they are thinking of drafting another guard, giving Bergstrom a shot, or bringing back Carlisle at a later date as they did last season. The team is also high on last year's undrafted free agent, Lucas Nix but as of yet, he too is a somewhat unknown commodity.
If Carson Palmer is cut or traded, this position of course shoots up to the top of the list. But even with Palmer onboard, the Raiders have just he and Terrelle Pryor which means a third quarterback is needed.