Last week after the Las Vegas Raiders’ on-field work ended at their mandatory minicamp, coach Jon Gruden said he believes the team has better overall depth than last year.
I think Gruden is right. The roster does appear to be deeper, especially at certain positions.
So let’s look at the Raiders’ deepest positions, in no particular order:
Having a player the caliber of free-agent Kenyan Drake behind Josh Jacobs is pretty special. The Raiders’ running back group was already decent with Jalen Richard but Drake is a major added dimension. Running backs get banged up and tired. That shouldn’t be a huge issue in Las Vegas.
The Raiders loaded up at both defensive end and defensive tackle this offseason. They especially added at defensive tackle where veterans Solomon Thomas, Quinton Jefferson and Darius Philon were signed, and promising Darius Stills was signed as an undrafted free agent. That position will look much different this year.
The Raiders added like crazy here, too. Casey Hayward, Rasul Douglas, Blidi Wreh-Wilson and De’Vante Bausby were signed in free agency and Nate Hobbs was drafted in the fifth round. I truly have no idea what the Raiders’ cornerback group in 2021 is going to look like and that’s a good thing. It will be fascinating.
We don’t know exactly how good this group will be (that depends on the development of second-year players Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards) but there will be a lot of options and the competitions will be stiff with the additions of free-agents John Brown and Willie Snead, and the presence of undrafted free agent Dillon Stoner.
Marcus Mariota is a nice backup — and if we’re talking No. 3 quarterbacks, there‘s nothing wrong with Nathan Peterman, either.