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Super Bowl result should set Raiders offseason agenda

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As the adage, "defense wins championships" was one again confirmed last night, the off-season focus for the Raiders should be as clear as ever: defense, defense, defense.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Just hours after the Denver defense stymied the league's No. 1 scoring offense (31.2 points per game), Reggie McKenzie's plans for the off-season ought to be clearer than ever: build the defense.

Of course, if you look at the direction this organization has gone in the past couple of seasons, you can see the commitment McKenzie has made to that side of the ball — adding Khalil Mack, Mario Edwards Jr., DJ Hayden in either the first or second round of the past three drafts, and 11 defenders total in the past two draft classes.

But even with all of this infusion of young talent, splashes must be made this off-season through free-agency as well. Once again, the Raiders are among the league's most cap-space-infused franchises, and while they've failed to spend a ton in the past two seasons, this is the year to break the bank.

Of the 12 teams that qualified for the playoffs this season, seven finished in the top nine in total defense (yards) this season, and 10 finished in the top 15. Only Washington and Pittsburgh finished in the bottom half of the league. Of the seven who finished in the top nine, six advanced into the divisional round and all four conference finalists were among the nine best defenses in the league.

Simply put, the formula here isn't a mystery.

Now, the beauty of Oakland's situation is that with so much money to spend, there's no need to zero in on a particular need at the expense of the others. With that said, the priority must be on defense.

Could Oakland use another running back? Sure. Does the offensive line need some help? Definitely.

But both of those needs (in my opinion) pale in comparison to the need for new defensive backs and linebackers. Yes, left tackle is among the most important positions on the field (which is why just re-signing Donald Penn to a short-term contract in order to take the pressure off makes so much sense), but even Carolina showed (albeit with a running quarterback) that an average offensive line doesn't exclude you from being great.

Again: this isn't to discount the need to answer the question at left tackle and right guard, I'm simply saying that after watching the Super Bowl last night, it seems clear that answering the defensive questions should be a bigger priority.

Imagine the Raiders going out and signing one (or even two!) high quality corners to pair with David Amerson, TJ Carrie and DJ Hayden. Throw in a pair of new safeties (remember, they've got some draft picks to fill some of these holes too), and one or two solid linebackers, and all of a sudden the Raiders could become one of the most well-rounded teams in the league. (All of which is reasonable with $60+ million to spend)

None of this is rocket science and none of this is breaking news, but the formula for success rarely is. Latavius Murray at running back isn't the problem, nor is Seth Roberts as the No. 3 receiver next season or Austin Howard/Menelik Watson at right tackle. Focus on defense and this roster gets fixed in a hurry — in fact, all of a sudden that 60-to-1 Super Bowl ticket for next year starts to look pretty appealing.