Just last year the Raiders lineup on both sides of the ball was considered among the worst in the NFL. It would appear times are a changin' because they're newly rebuilt team is getting some recognition. After their linebacking corps was named among the better ones in the NFL, now their newly rebuilt offensive line is getting some positive mention as well.
SB Nation's Danny Kelly places them firmly among the top 15 offensive line units in the NFL. He gives them "Wild Card" status, just below "Elite" and "Contenders".Here is what he had to say:
LT Donald Penn, LG Gabe Jackson, C Stefen Wisniewski, RG Austin Howard, RT Menelik Watson, G/C Kevin Boothe, G Tony Bergstrom, G Lucas Nix, G/T Khalif Barnes, T Jack Cornell, G Jarrod Shaw, G Lamar Mady, T Matt McCants, T Danny Kistler Jr.
The Raiders might see a similarly revamped offensive line in 2014, depending on how camp battles shake out. The most interesting group, in my mind, would be as listed above: free agent Donald Penn, a former Pro Bowler that regressed badly in 2013, at left tackle; rookie Gabe Jackson at left guard; Stefen Wisniewski at center; Austin Howard at right guard; and second-year player Menelik Watson, the team's second-rounder in 2013, at right tackle.
A nearly complete shuffling, the two biggest wild-cards would probably be Jackson and Watson, but the upside there in those two players is enormous. With a new quarterback in Matt Schaub and a new running back in Maurice Jones-Drew, the Raiders will be an intriguing team to watch this year.