One of the more interesting breakdowns of the starters on each NFL team is going on over at Pro Football Focus. They lay out the projected starters using color coding to grade each player from elite to poor based on their performance ratings. It is a very interesting way to get an overall view of the talent level on the team.
Interesting to note is they go with the nickel package which has just two linebackers. This leaves out linebacker Sio Moore who is likely to start as well. But they wouldn't have had a grade on Moore anyway because he is a rookie.
As you can see, the Raiders don't have a single player deemed "elite" by PFF standards, however they have three players they grade out as High Quality. Those players are left tackle Jared Veldheer, defensive end Lamarr Houston, and Safety Tyvon Branch.
On the flip side, the largest group is that of below average. But while there are a great many who land between above and below average, there are no players graded as poor. That might be a surprise to those who have read some of the national sports news' perspective on the Raiders roster. It has been rated as the absolute worst in the NFL by nearly everyone.
Except for PFF, that is. Which, not surprisingly is one of the only sites which delves deep to research each and every play by each and every player.
The writer, Neil Hornsby, notes he gave a couple players the benefit of the doubt - Denarius Moore and Andre Carter - in that he thinks they had down years but will bounce back to previous form. All other players' grades are based on actual performance, not projection or opinion.
Hornsby also mentions to keep an eye out for Kaluka Maiava, Phillip Adams, and Usama Young, all of whom they have good grades for and see making an impact this season.
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