We have heard a lot about how bad the rest of the sports world projects the Raiders to be this season. Even Vegas odds have the dead last, tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Evan Silva from Rotoworld.com says it's no tie for the worst. He has the Raiders starting lineup as the absolute worst in the league.
This ranking accounts for both offense and defense based on who Silva projects to be atop the Raiders' depth chart at this juncture. He has several rookies starting for the Raiders including first round pick CB DJ Hayden, second round pick OT Menelik Watson, third round pick LB Sio Moore, and sixth round pick TE Nick Kasa.
The Raiders' offensive line, as Silva sees it, has a couple of surprises on it as far as I can see. Silva has Lucas Nix starting at left guard and Khalif Barnes moving inside to start at right guard with rookie Watson taking over at right tackle. This would put Tony Bergstrom and Mike Brisiel as the odd men out.
Regardless of whether the Raiders actual starters will prove to be the same players as Silva predicts, the mere fact that so many positions are a toss-up, lesser of the evils type of situation is far more relevant than exactly who will win out at each position.
On offense, Silva points to McFadden's health (or lack thereof) as a factor in his low grade. He also calls Matt Flynn "a game-managing band-aid quarterback at best and liability at worst." He also adds the lack of a proven talent at tight end.
On defense, he didn't need to go any farther than the Raiders lack of a pass rush. And since the team did little to improve it in free agency or the draft, the problem still very much exists. Which is to say a pass rush does not.
To see Silva's entire list of rankings, click here.
Though, there are many who might disagree with the assertion that the Raiders are the absolute rock bottom worst team in the NFL, it can be hard to argue. Mainly because there is an overall lack of proven talent on the team. Potential is not a strong leg on which to stand. Faith is even less sturdy.
I personally do not think the Raiders have the worst starting lineup now nor do I think it will be the worst once the season starts. My projected starting lineup is also a bit different than Silva's but not shockingly different.
For the Raiders to prove Silva wrong as well as so many other doomsday prognosticators, is a couple things.
First of all, their unproven players must become proven. For the most part this will just happen naturally. These players are finally getting their shot and some of them will inevitably shine in their newfound spotlight. It's a numbers game. The Raiders have a lot of new players; most of whom are unproven. The odds are in their favor that a few of them will be gems.
Second, the team must continue to make additions. This means working the free agent wire after June 1st when more teams will release their ‘cap casualties' and the Raiders will have some more money to spend to bring them in. I expect this will happen which will alter the face of this team and add competition where it is needed most.
The Raiders make for an easy beating post at the moment because there's no one who can give any kind of proof otherwise. That lack of proof goes both ways, which allows for hope from the Raiders side of things, but until this newly formed team shows up on the field, expect the piling on to continue.