Starters: Donald Penn, Marshall Newhouse
Backups: Vadal Alexander, David Sharpe, Jylan Ware
Free Agents: None
Penn enters the second year of a two-year restructure he signed after holding out of last year’s training camp. He has been the team’s starting left tackle since he was signed after being cut by the Buccaneers in 2014. He has made the Pro Bowl the past two seasons. He missed the final two games of last season with a knee injury. It was the first time he had missed regular season game in his career, though he had also been injured in the season finale of 2016 causing him to miss the team’s Wild Card playoff game in Houston.
Newhouse was signed last offseason to be the team’s new starting right tackle, replacing the duo of Austin Howard and Menelik Watson. Though Newhouse I wouldn’t call him a disaster, he didn’t prove to be an upgrade and right tackle was still the weak link on the offensive line. He gave up 8 sacks and 38 pressures. That aint good.
As many issues as Newhouse had, every time Alexander came in at right tackle, it was like Newhouse appreciation day. In just four starts at right tackle, Alexander gave up two sacks and 20 pressures.
The team’s fourth round rookie, Sharpe came in to start at left tackle the final two games in place of Penn. He held his own for one game and then got destroyed in the season finale in Los Angeles. Right tackle seems his ultimate destination either in the near or distant future. Ware didn’t impress in camp and was active for just one game.
Donald Penn will be 35 years old in April and has suffered two lower leg injuries inside a year. The team must start thinking about life after him. Newhouse was always a temporary fix at right tackle until they could find the long term answer. The only future hope on this roster at tackle is David Sharpe and he has a long way to go to offer the coaching staff any confidence in his abilities. Right tackle would make the most sense. In this case the draft would be the way to go. There isn’t much on the free agent market at tackle and any proven talent would be expensive.
What condition would you say the Raiders OT position is in?
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