Coaching matters in this league. We saw that last season. But since it’s often difficult to quantify how much of a player’s performance is coaching related and how much is talent related, how does one take that into consideration?
Well, when you’re just using raw numbers, you simply don’t take that into account. Whether it be the previous coaching failings or the current coaching prospects.
Judging only raw numbers and going by what these players did the last season is the way Pro Football Focus judges players on. With that in mind, they ranked the Raiders roster at 24th in the league. That’s third in the AFC West, just ahead of the Denver Broncos at 25th.
They really like the Chargers roster, ranking it 6th in the league. The Chiefs roster landed at 14.
The rankings were done through ESPN. Here is what they had to say about the Raiders roster:
Biggest strength: Khalil Mack has been Oakland’s best player since joining the team as the fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft. Equally dominant against both the run and pass, Mack is the most complete edge defender in the NFL. Slotted as the No. 7 overall player entering the 2018 season on our annual top-50 list, Mack has earned elite (90.0 or above) season grades in each of the past three seasons and just missed the mark at 89.9 as a rookie. In 2017, Mack tied for second in total pressures (79) and ranked No. 1 in defensive stops (52).
Biggest weakness: Derek Carrier, signed this offseason to play opposite nine-year veteran Jared Cook, has done little in his five-year career to warrant a starting nod in this league. The former Beloit College product has played just 910 offensive snaps over the past five seasons, and in the lone season he played over 200 offensive snaps (2015), he recorded a paltry 57.8 grade.
By the numbers: Since a breakout 2016 season and signing a five-year, $125 million extension, Derek Carr has regressed. That’s literally due to added pressure. When pressured in 2017, the Raiders QB completed just 52 of 122 passes for two touchdowns, 694 yards and nine interceptions and a 40.8 passer rating -- a 29.2-point drop-off from his 70.0 passer rating under pressure in the previous season.
- Mack is the only ‘Elite’ player (above 90 grade).
- ‘High Quality’ players (grade in 80s) are Marshawn Lynch, Rodney Hudson, Justin Ellis, Rashaan Melvin, and Karl Joseph.
- How in the world is Kelechi Osemele considered ‘Average’ (grade in 70s)?
- Gabe Jackson is called ‘below average’ (grade in 60s), which is silly if you look at his entire body of work. But, again, he had a down year with a new scheme and foot ailments he was battling. He will bounce back. Count on that.
- Kolton Miller is listed at right tackle, so there’s no grade. There is no indication Miller will start at right tackle, but if Breno Giacomini were listed instead, the grade would be even worse.
- They have Derek Carrier listed as a starter. He’s not. He’s their third tight end. And if your third TE is your biggest weakness, that’s not the worst thing.
- They have Jared Cook as ‘Poor’ (grade in 50s or below) even though he led the Raiders in receiving last year and Jon Gruden has raved about him in offseason practices.
- Amari Cooper is also poor, which is understandable if you’re going only by last season when he was second in the league in drops (10). He has the lowest grade of any of their projected starters (51.9). If he can return to the form of his first two NFL seasons, his grade would improve.
- They have the Raiders running a 3-4. They run a 4-3 now. This causes all kinds of inaccuracies in their personnel.
- They have Eddie Vanderdoes as a starter. He was last season, but he won’t be this season. He too was ‘Poor’.
- A change in position labeling would remove Vanderdoes, move Mario Edwards Jr to DT, Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack to DE, and add Emmanuel Lamur at outside linebacker. That may or may not improve the overall grade.
- They have Shareece Wright as ‘below average’ listed as the third corner. So far it appears Daryl Worley is the favorite for that third CB spot.
- All starters not mentioned here were labeled as ‘Average’.