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Bigger Raiders draft need on offense: Running back, tight end, or guard?

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Kansas City Chiefs v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

There might not be a bigger winner this offseason in the entire league than Derek Carr. When you are sacked a career high 51 times, what does your coach and general manager do? Sign the number tackle on the free agent market to a mega deal.

When your top returning wide receivers from the previous year are Jordy Nelson (cut), Seth Roberts (cut), and 7th round practice squad player Marcell Ateman what does your coach and general manager do? Complete a mega trade for Antonio Brown, and sign Tyrell Williams, JJ Nelson, and Ryan Grant to rebuild the receiving corps.

Things are looking much better from an offensive line and wide receiver stand point but there is plenty of help needed on the offensive side of the ball.

Jared Cook left town to sign with the New Orleans Saints, leaving a major void at tight end. Even with the signing of Isaiah Crowell the running back room still lacks talent and it’s unknown at this point if Marshawn Lynch is planning to play the final season in Oakland.

Kelechi Osemele was traded to the Jets to free up $10 million in cap space and although Denzelle Good was brought back as a possible replacement for Osemele, guard is another position that should be upgraded in the draft.

So with all these needs that still remain on offense, the question is which position is the bigger need?

Tight end

Looking at the list of tight ends currently on the roster it’s hard to imagine prioritizing running back or guard ahead in terms of need. Luke Willson, Lee Smith, Derek Carrier, Darren Waller, and Paul Butler are what currently make up the tight end options. Not exactly a world beater group of tight ends.

Combined those five players caught only 36 passes for 302 yards last season. Last week at the annual league meetings, Jon Gruden threw support the way of Darren Waller. who came on late last season after being claimed off the Ravens’ practice squad.

“This Darren Waller is very interesting, we’re going to give him a chance of a lifetime,” said Gruden. “So, if you’re listening out Darren there, let’s go brother.”

Waller could be in line for a bigger role in 2019.

Running back

Much like the tight end group there is one very interesting option in Chris Warren III, who was stashed on the injured reserve last season and a bunch of ok guys.

Jalen Richard had a break out year in 2018 but he is nothing more than a third down back and receiver out of the backfield. DeAndre Washington was buried on the depth chart last season and was a healthy scratch some weeks.

As previously mentioned, Isaiah Crowell was signed to a one year prove-it deal. Crowell brings experience as a workhorse back but there is a reason he didn’t last long with the Browns and Jets. Crowell has never had a season of 1,000 yards rushing.

We all know Gruden loves to pound the rock, and mentioned last week he is looking for a three down back that can do it all. Currently the Raiders do not have that guy on the roster.

Guard

If there is one area of weakness along the line it’s at guard. Gabe Jackson will man one side and it appears Denzelle Good is the leader in the clubhouse for the spot opposite of Jackson.

Good was brought in late in the season and started the final three games of the year at right guard replacing Jackson was lost to injury. He played well in his limited time with the Raiders and because of that they rewarded him with a one-year contract extension.

Whether Good is the answer to start at guard remains to be seen. After Good, the depth is, well, bad. Jordan Devey, Chaz Green, and Denver Kirkland. Injuries took a toll on the offensive line last season so adding a guard through the draft is imperative.

Poll

What position on offense is a bigger need?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Running back
    (163 votes)
  • 42%
    Tight end
    (449 votes)
  • 41%
    Guard
    (437 votes)
1049 votes total Vote Now

All see: Bigger draft need on defense: Linebacker, cornerback, or safety?