I'm going to break this post into a couple of segments.
a) Raider's offseason moves
b) division rivals' offseason moves
c) upcoming draft
The quickest way for a team to improve is through Free Agency.
The Raiders losses were Ronald Curry, Kwame Harris, Gibril Wilson, Justin Griffith, and Kalimba Edwards. Curry has been an average receiver at best, and his hands have been terrible the past couple of years. A lot of potential that never came through. I'm not losing sleep over this loss. Kwame Harris was beyond aweful. I missed Barry Sims. NFL false start leaders in only 11 starts. A lot of holds, a lot of sacks. Good riddance. Gibril Wilson - ya, this one hurts. It hurts bad. As if our safeties weren't bad enough, we lost our only good one. Sure, he's not spectacular against the pass, but he did end up with 2 picks. 134 tackles (most in NFL by anybody other than a linebacker) and a safety showed how valuable he was against the run. Only polamalu is better against the run than this guy. Kalimba Edwards - yawn. started off strong, but faded, just like he's been his whole career. Justin Griffith - was ineffective as a lead blocker, and a healthy Oren O'neal should do just fine instead of this guy.
We lost Jake Grove but replaced him with Samson Satele, who should have near identical effectiveness in our zone-blocking scheme. A lot cheaper, too. Kwame Harris was replaced with Khalif Barnes. He and Mario Henderson will compete for the LT spot, and the loser wil play right. Barnes had an off year, and Henderson finished really strong at LT.
We also got Erik Pears, who will back up both tackle spots. He started at tackle for the donkeys. We were able to retain Nnamdi Asomugha, Chris Johnson, Shane Lechler, Jon Alston (special teams), Justin Miller, and Ricky Brown. I'm not too high on Brown, but the rest are pretty darn good. Now they got Jeff Garcia. Im not too happy about this move. Grant it, he's a hell of a qb and is now the best backup in the NFL, but if Russell is entrentched as the starter, we didnt really need this guy. How much he's getting paid, we don't know, but i hope its no more than 3 mil.
Overall, the team looks the saem everywhere except on the O-line, where there has been a lot of improvement. Our team lacks safeties, defensive linemen, and wide receivers.
The Broncos are in a huge mess. They don't have a starting running back, and will have a huge committee with a bunch of sub-par backs. They have Kyle Orton as qb, unless they draft one. Either way, don't expect much qb play. Their defense hasn't improved much at all. Dawkins is amazing, but he is old and overpayed. The franchise is going backwards.
The Chiefs are the chiefs. Matt Cassell should be an improvement, but they still need a better running back (as LJ is likely to go, and wans't playing that good anyway), and there defense is still the worst in the division.
The Chargers payed big bucks to keep Sproles, and shouldn't be much better than last year. They lost a starter on the o-line and the d-line, though Merriman will be back. They look to go 8-8 or 9-7 again.
The division is very much up for grabs.
The raiders can go in a few directions. They can go with Crabtree, to give Russell a go to guy. You can't go wrong with the crab-man, and he's the closest to a sure-fire prospect. They can go with Orakpo, who will be an all around d-lineman. He can rush the passer from the outside, or bullrush up the guy. He is also great against the run for a DE. A freak athlete with size, strength, and speed. They can go o-line, probably with Andre Smith. Keep Henderson on the bench, and start Smith and Barnes on the line. That would be pretty solid. The other option is BJ Raji. A nose tackle who can easily fit on the 3-4 OR the 4-3. He alone could help our horrible rushing defense. He has a bit of a passrush and is more of a Vince Wilfork, run clogger than anything.
I am on the Raji train, and hoping we can land a receiver like Heyward-Bey, Hakeem Nicks, or Ramses Barden in the second.
This team wont go 12-4 or anything, but 9-7 (best case scenario) just might be good enough to squeak in front of the bolts.