For what it's worth, this will be an ongoing series of what I think needs to happen, or what I think will happen. For what I think needs to happen, I will obviously put out who, what and when I see as the best moves that are available at the time; for what I think will happen, it will be what I see as the moves that the Raiders will make, although I may or may not agree with them. So, let's get started with this installment, offensive tackle...
The weakest link on the offensive line last season, but there may be some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't an oncoming train. It would appear that Barnes may move inside, which will be a solid plus. Still, there are questions that will need to answered.
Brisiel: He is often raked over the coals in these forums, but he was solid enough for most of the year, if nothing special. The drawback with Brisiel is the same as it is with a number of our interior linemen: he doesn't get a consistent push on rushing downs, and can get biullrushed on passing downs. Neither happens regularly, but enough to keep the offense from really clicking. I see him returning, but we can use an upgrade to a larger, more physical type of guard.
Gurode: Played decently enough, but showed plenty of rust and that he is not a starter for most teams, but can be a competent backup for a short period of time. I wouldn't bring him back, because I would look to upgrade this position through free agency and the draft, but I believe that the team may look to bring him back later in the free agency period as an insurance policy, depending on what else happens. I don't foresee a lot of teams to be lining up for his services.
Bergstrom: Although one of McKenzie's first picks, he was taken low enough that I don't think that there is any special attachment to him. Bergstrom needs to step up and show that he can play in this scheme, at this level. He will also be under the gun to show that he can remain healthy. If he falls short in either or both categories, I don't see him remaining beyond next year. I actually don't think that he fits the scheme well enough.
Nix: Blasted regularly on these boards, and rightfully so, as his play was underwhelming at best, to put it nicely. Still, the staff stayed with him even as many (including me) were baying for his head. Apparently there is a reason that those guys are paid well by an actual NFL team, and I am writing this for free, sitting on the couch in my underwear, because Nix did come on in the last quarter or so of the season, playing solid ball on both running and passing downs. No, he wasn't setting the league on fire, but he was not a liability either; he was simply getting the job done. I won't say that he will even be a starter, but I will admit that he played better than I ever thought he could/would, and that given another season under Sparano, who knows...? He looks to be at least turning into a decent backup, and that is something from an UDFA.
Mady: A free agent that I don't expect to return. The reason for that is that even during the worst of Nix's struggles, Mady rarely saw the field. It just felt as though he was basically a last ditch option; my guess is that barring an appeal from Sparano, he will be allowed to leave.
As I said earlier, during most of the season this position was the weak link of the line. We may now have two serviceable starters, but I fully expect at least one free agent signing of a solid, proven veteran that is more of a nasty, physical roadgrader, as well as a draft pick (late second day, maybe third day) to be spent on the position. Depending on what happens here, with what I expect of the move of Barnes to the inside, we may see one of these players (my guess is Brisiel, might be Nix) move behind Wisneiwski to provide depth at that position as well. We'll see how it plays out, but I don't feel too badly about this position at this point in time; one or two good additions should shore it up pretty well.