Projected Lineups: Oakland Raiders
One look at this current view of the Raiders’ lineup puts into perspective the state of things as Phase 3 of the roster demolition/rebuild gets underway. Last season’s slew of ‘let’s just field a full team’ one-year deals are set to expire and the dead money from past misgivings is melting away, so that clean-slate fresh start Reggie McKenzie’s regime has maneuvered for is finally here.
Needless to say there are scarce few locked-in solutions already on board, so the additions we see this offseason – via the draft and in using their massive cap space to keep a couple of their own and add through free agency — will be critical as the foundation is set down.
– Player markers are colored per class on a five-step ‘Poor’ to ‘High Quality’ scale based on their overall performance and the league’s elite are marked separately in blue.
– Colored outlines suggest a potential change in class.
– Underlined players will be 30+ years old for the 2014 season.
– Red player names suggest injury risks.
– Click on the image to enlarge.
– First off, it’s a good clue that if the cornerstone talent of your lineup is a hybrid fullback, you might have larger roster issues. But using that player on just 48% of your offensive snaps only helps to compound things. Reece is a great piece in danger of being wasted.
– Faced with the key rebuild question: do you get the roster in place and then secure the QB to run it or get the QB first and add around him? Oakland can go either way at this point with the QB answer not yet found. The signal-callers available at No. 5 on draft day could show their hand in this regard.
– 353 snaps of unimpressive play from last year’s first-round pick didn’t take the CB position forward as it should have. Perhaps there’s a huge step coming in the second season for a hopefully healthy Hayden, but regardless, the CB roster is once again stripped down and in need of more than a rented talent infusion.
– Contracts are up for seven of the nine O-linemen/ D-linemen who started the final game in 2013. Left in their place are an unhealthy mix of players proven short of the task and those who’ve not logged enough time to tell. Jared Veldheer and Lamarr Houston have been the headline free agents of the group, but the Pat Sims/Vance Walker interior D-Line duo put in work deserving of new deals and Tony Pashos was a stabilizing factor in his 12 games after joining the team at the end of camp.
– A healthy Tyvon Branch and the re-signing of an out-of-options Charles Woodson or under-utilized Usama Young would send Brandian Ross back to a reserve role and remove one of the secondary’s weakest links, but the spot needs attention in the form of a long-term answer soon.
2014 Cap Situation
Carrying a cap space number that looks to be the highest in the league (near $60M per overthecap.com), the Raiders find themselves in unfamiliar territory. The cap dance of days past will look a little different as dollars aren’t being shuffled around in deadline-beating desperation, but rather as part of a plan to spend wisely, hoping for a lot of bang from a lot of bucks.
If the team is not satisfied with the bankroll they’ve positioned for already, the largest potential for additional savings would be in the form of 31-year-old linebacker, Kevin Burnett. His value as a veteran presence and his work done as a run defender last season would point to him being retained, but that $3.5M savings has to be attractive to a team now addicted to trimming every bit of cap fat.
Perhaps a more likely move would be seeing 30-year-old guard Mike Brisiel sent off a year after he restructured to stay aboard. His 2013 was a step better than the season before, but both guard spots could use upgrades and the $1.4M savings he represents would be one more reason for the team to part ways.
Opportunities from the Roster
Grabbing hold of a starting spot late in 2013, wide receiver Andre Holmes flashed the chops to have an impact on the outside. His +3.9 receiving grade and quality work as a blocker may have given him grip on a secondary role in this receiving corps that still lacks a top dog.
Matt McCants served in most games as an overload tackle, but showed well when thrust in as an emergency starter on the right side. The three hurries he gave up on 118 pass-blocking snaps produced an impressive Pass Blocking Efficiency score of 98.1 and his run blocking was no worse than league average. With both Jared Veldheer and Tony Pashos looking for deals, McCants could push 2013 pick Menelik Watson for consideration on the right or maybe even get a look at guard.
Projected lineups by team:
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