The changes across the offensive line were the story of the offseason. Raiders fans were caught off guard by a few of the moves especially trading Hudson. The front office traded Gabe Jackson and Trent Brown as well.
Moving on from Gabe Jackson left a void in the offensive line. With Richie Incognito solidified at one guard position, the question becomes who takes the other?
The battle is between John Simpson and Denzelle Good.
Simpson is the 2020 fourth-round pick who struggled in his first start. He bounced back, later on, looking like a different player in Week 17.
Good is the steady veteran and fan favorite. His performance against the Cleveland Browns was incredible, and he held the starting spot last season.
It develops into the most exciting camp battle this year. Let’s make a case for both players.
The case for Simpson.
Simpson is the prototype position coach Tom Cable envisions a guard. He hits every metric Cable loves(Vertical Jump, broad, arm length) for the wide zone scheme.
The athleticism he possesses shines when executing outside zone. He has excellent movement skills in space. The former fourth-round pick works laterally with a fluidity you don’t see from starting guards.
Simpson running outside zone from his two starts. He executes we'll on reach blocks with the athleticism to get to the second level. Night and Day difference from Week 3 to Week 17 in terms of finish pic.twitter.com/q8PWuWsVO8— Marcus Johnson (@TheMarcJohnNFL) July 16, 2021
The growth he displayed throughout the season exhibits his work ethic. In the video above, his play strength on reach blocks, Week 3, was nonexistent. He couldn’t get any push. Flash forward to week 17, he became a waiter at IHOP.
When working pass protection, the growth was equivalent. Week 2 and 3 Simpson put out embarrassing performances. His technique was awful with slow punch timing. The defensive lineman bull-rushed into Derek Carr.
Switch to Week 16 and 17. His hands are now inside, setting a great base to anchor. Simpson passed out the pancakes in pass pro too. He put out the impressive tape in Week 16 and 17.
Simpson's upside is tremendous. His growth during the season has to excite Cable and the coaching staff.
The case for Good.
Good is the safer choice because we already know what he is. The veteran will not hurt the offensive line, but he doesn’t take it to another level.
As I talked about in my previous article, the Raiders want to run outside zone. Good is better than advertised when I watched the tape. The Raiders could still suffice with the former seventh-round pick in the lineup.
Good allows them to be versatile in the run game as well. Inside zone and the power run scheme open up for the Raiders.
Good, and Miller picking up this stunt by the Colts. Miller was able to reset and anchor when Bucker got that initial push. pic.twitter.com/WAZtphi6Vp— Marcus Johnson (@TheMarcJohnNFL) July 17, 2021
With pass protection, he is serviceable enough where Carr won’t face heavy pressure. There will be low performances from Good, but he is a high mental processor. He communicates well with the other lineman when it comes to blitzes and stunts.
Good brings the experience to the table. We all know Gruden loves a veteran with experience. It's why Good might be the starting guard in Week 1.
Who should win the Job?
If the Raiders are all about going young, then it has to be Simpson. The former Clemson Tiger has the metrics for Cable’s desired run scheme. His length and athleticism are upper echelons for guards in the NFL. Then mix it all in with his work ethic. Raiders might have a ten-year starting guard on their hands with sneaky Pro Bowl potential.