What was your favorite article that you wrote this season? Plug away fellas, and include links.
Will: The article I wrote recently about one player from each college football playoff team that would looks good in silver and black (click here).
Cyril: This is tough. I’m going to cheat a little bit and say the entire Draft Hunt series is my favorite. I saw a Fanpost mock draft the other day where the first four picks were all player’s we’ve featured. That’s the stuff you love to see right there.
Alex: I really enjoyed the article I wrote about how Jon Gruden needs to stop trading for wide receivers (click here). The comments were especially hilarious by my fellow armchair GMs. As always, my favorite comments were the ones who strongly disagreed with my take.
Evan: The piece I enjoy writing the most this season is the Stock Watch. I enjoyed monitoring the ups and downs of different players, coaches, and aspects of the team.
Finish this sentence Part I: I will be really frustrated with the Raiders next year if ______
BD: There isn’t a marked improvement on defense. We are holding out on Paul Guenther to do what exactly with this unit? It’s been near the bottom of the league by most measures since he’s taken over.
Alex: I’m sorry that I keep repeating myself, but it has to be if the Raiders don’t draft a damn linebacker (I wrote this before Dylan Moses decided to return to school, so I’m okay with Kenneth Murray at 19, but not at 12) or sign someone that’s played for Guenther in Cincinnati. Seriously, enough is enough. My contract is up March 1, 2020 with this site, so I likely won’t be around when these moves happen, but please carry my rage if Mayock and Gruden continue to ignore this position.
Cyril: The defense isn’t a priority. Over the last two season’s this team has been No. 30 in points allowed per game and No. 31 in yards allowed per play. However they do it, via free agency, the draft, or a change in coaching, things need to change. This team remarkably finished top 10 in most efficiency metrics even despite their awful late season stretch. With even an average defense, the Raiders would have made the playoffs.
Evan: I will be really frustrated if the Raiders do not win at least 9 games next year. I expect to see continued growth in year three under Gruden. They very well could have won 9 in 2019.
Will: They overdo free agency and don’t at least give themselves a chance at a compensatory pick.
Finish this sentence Part II: Speak it into the universe, the Las Vegas Raiders will sign ______ in free agency.
Cyril: Arik Armstead. The development of the San Francisco 49ers defensive line catapulted them to the top of the NFC this season, and Armstead was one of the main catalysts. They’ll undoubtedly want to bring him back, but San Francisco is quite limited on cap space, so there’s a real chance that they are forced to let Armstead walk. If he doesn’t re-sign or get the franchise tag, he’s my No. 1 wish for the Raiders. At 6-foot-7, 290 pounds, he can capably play the 5-tech or 3-tech spots for Guenther’s defense and would give the team an enticing trio at defensive end. No. 2 on my wish list (at the moment) is Byron Jones. He is probably the odd man out with all the money Dallas has spent on extensions, and he’d look great across from Trayvon Mullen.
Evan: ILB Joe Schobert.
BD: Jamie Collins is the modern NFL linebacker. He doesn’t need to come out on any down. He can blitz, cover, and run sideline to sideline to defend the run. He won’t be as good as he was in New England, but he’ll still be head and shoulders better than the LBs on the 2019 roster.
Alex: I will literally take any one of the following players: Cory Littleton, Joe Schobert, Dante Fowler Jr., or Yannick Ngakoue. Out of those four, I think the Raiders have a real shot at Littleton or Fowler Jr., maybe even both because the Rams can’t afford to pay both of them high end money, and then expect to pay Jalen Ramsey and Cooper Kupp next off season. Todd Gurley’s albatross contract is hampering that team with $25 million in dead cap, and it could potentially be the Raiders’ gain. Quickly, Everson Griffen also looks like he’ll be a cap casualty in Minnesota. I wouldn’t mind seeing him being signed to a Richie Incognito type contract.
Will: Kyle Van Noy. I realize players and coaches generally get worse when they leave New England. But I love his versatility and ability to aide the pass rush as an OLB.
You see Mike Mayock in the airport waiting to board the same flight as you (trust me it happens). You get to talking about the Raiders and he asks you, “who is the one player you don’t think we should target in free agency?” Your response to him would be?
Cyril: I’m going to argue with Will here. I don’t think the Raiders should sign Kyle Van Noy. He’s not the answer this team is looking for at linebacker. Van Noy works well as an outside linebacker in the Patriots’ hybrid scheme as a pass rusher and run stuffer, but he’s not exactly a fit with the Raiders considering they mostly run a 4-2-5 look. Van Noy is a good player, but the fit isn’t there in my humble opinion.
Will: A.J. Green. It’s beyond tempting to go after a guy who would admittedly look great in silver and black. He’s almost the quintessential Raider. The problem: the dude hasn’t really been healthy for the better part of two years, and hasn’t been himself in probably three. I don’t doubt that he’s still talented, but let someone else take that risk.
Evan: A.J. Green. I know Gruden likes veteran WRs but this guy is an injury waiting to happen.
BD: Chris Harris Jr. He’s great don’t get me wrong, but the gifted cover man is on the wrong side of 30. I’m hoping the Broncos invest a huge contract in him and end up regretting it.
Alex: A.J. Green. I don’t understand this fascination with Green and the Raiders. Leading up to the trade deadline, the Raiders were mentioned as a potential landing spot by numerous sites & media alike. Do people realize that since 2016, he’s played in 35 out of a possible 64 games. He’s only played one full season out of a possible four. If Williams, the WR2 is struggling with injuries, the answer for the WR1 position is another player struggling with injuries? I guarantee you he’s not going to take a discount either, and will be looking to cash in on one last big payday in his career.
Who was the biggest disappointment on the Raiders for you this season?
BD: Gareon Conley was supposed to be a difference maker, and ended getting outplayed by two Day 2 draft picks. We were all hoping he would have taken a major step in his career while he was a Raider. Now the front office looks smart for getting a 3rd round pick for him.
Cyril: There are a lot of players who could be in this spot. Lamarcus Joyner was a square peg in a round hole from the onset, was a square peg in a round hole from the start, Gareon Conley was terrible and shipped out of town, and Gabe Jackson, Tahir Whitehead, and Tyrell Williams all underperformed. With that said, I’m going to give this “award” to two players, Zay Jones and Trevor Davis. The duo of wide receivers were brought in via midseason trades and never jibed with the offense for different reasons. Davis was cut and Jones was about as unproductive as can be with the high level of snaps he received on a week-to-week basis. The fact that the Raiders gave up draft assets for one guy who is already off the team and another who doesn’t look like part of the future is a major disappointment.
Alex: The entire coaching staff was absolutely horrendous during the four game losing streak. I think people are looking for an excuse to put Derek Carr here, but he doesn’t come up with the game plan, and during those four games every facet of the coaching staff looked inept and unprepared.
I’d even argue that starting with the Bengals up until the Raiders beat the Chargers, the coaching staff looked terrible. It’s wild that the Raiders got smoked 34-3 by an Adam Gase-led New York Jets team. The Jaguars game was an embarrassment too, and that’s being polite. Both of those were such winnable games. The Raiders should’ve been 9-6 heading into Week 17. So, I’ll go with the coaching staff, top to bottom.
Will: Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden. I was promised chaos. And all I got was a fairly competent, though vaguely traditional, season from the two. After all I’m basically the Joker and just want to watch the world burn.
Evan: Tyrell Williams. He started the season very well but the platar fasciitis injury really slowed him down and he was really ineffective.
Who was the MVP for the Oakland Raiders this season?
Alex: BD said it the best when I asked about Josh Jacobs and his draft position in the last SB&P Roundtable.
Could you imagine how the offense would have looked without him? I don’t want to, and that’s why he’s the MVP for the Raiders this season.
Evan: Maxx Crosby.
Will: Darren Waller. The offense would have been atrocious without him.
BD: Josh Jacobs was the biggest difference maker from 2018 to 2019. Darren Waller and Jared Cook had comparable seasons, the Raiders leading WRs, both were pro-bowl alternates. But Josh Jacobs compared to Doug Martin down the stretch isn’t in the same category. Jacobs was the catalyst on offense for Jon Gruden’s attack.
Cyril: Mike Mayock and the entire college scouting department deserve the MVP. The combined efforts of the Raiders rookie class was truly awe-inspiring. If we have to give this to a player, it’s Josh Jacobs, but Maxx Crosby is a close second.