Where are They Now? 2019

Here is a fun read for you all to get you through another Super Bowl Sunday without the Raiders. These players wore the Silver and Black at one point in their career. Here’s how they did this past season and a sprinkle of Raiders’ memories.

Latavius Murray, Saints

The Tay Train rushed for over 600 yards and five touchdowns as a primary backup for the Saints. He added over 200 receiving yards and a touchdown after joining New Orleans in free agency via the Vikings. The same Minnesota Vikings that ended his Saints’ run in the playoffs. PFF gave him a 73.9 grade for the season. He still has a few years on his deal.

Mario Edwards Jr., Saints

MEJ finished this year with three sacks eight TFL and a forced fumble across 14 games for the Saints. The 25-year-old spent last season with the Giants after the Raiders parted ways with the 2015 second-round pick.  New Orleans can cut him this offseason with limited dead money or they can keep him for a $3.24 million cap hit.

Taiwan Jones, Texans

The former Raiders running back, corner and special teams player spent this past season with the Houston Texans. He rushed for only 40 yards in 11 games but he made his biggest impact in the wild card round of the playoffs. Jones caught a short pass and took into 34 yards to bring Houston into field goal range in overtime versus Buffalo Wild Card weekend. Jones spent the last few seasons with the Bills even earning special teams captain honors too.

AJ McCaron Texans

McCaron never made a start in his one season with the Raiders last year, after they gave up a late-round pick for him. However, the 29-year-old started week 17 for the playoff-bound Houston Texans. A.J. completed 57 percent of his passes for 225 yards, no touchdowns and an interception versus the Titans.

Gareon Conley, Texans

Conley is the 2017 first-round pick who should’ve been a draft day steal due to some bad circumstances. The OSU product battled injuries with the Silver and Black before they shipped him to the Texans for a third-round draft pick. Conley got 11 passes defended in eight games with the Texans but did not catch an interception. He also added 27 tackles. The 24-year-old improved with the Texans pass rush but PFF gave him an average grade of 63.2 for the season. He will be a free agent after the 2020 season.

Eddie Vanderdoes, Texans

Vanderdoes appeared in only three games for the Texans. The former Raiders third-rounder battled injuries for a couple seasons before the Raiders said peace out. He had eight tackles in those three appearances.

Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks

Of course, we can’t forget about Marshawn who made headlines coming out of retirement when Seattle desperately needed a running back. Lynch stayed in shape all year. Then he joined Seattle towards the end of the season when all their runners got hurt. Lynch rushed for 34 yards on 12 carries in the regular season, including a TD. He got three TDs in the playoffs but only 33 rushing yards across those two playoff games. Ultimately, he wasn’t enough to help the Hawks beat the Packers in the playoffs.

Neiko Thorpe, Seahawks

Thorpe is in his fourth season with the Seahawks since he and the Raiders parted ways in 2015. Thorpe finished this season on IR after Seattle re-signed him in the offseason. The 29-year-old has mainly been a backup and special teams player the past few seasons.

Obi Melifonwu, Patriots

Practice squad counts? This combine phenom and 2017 second-round pick spent the past two seasons on the Patriots practice squad. They signed him to a reserve contract after the season even though the 25-year-old did not appear in a game last year.

Marshall Newhouse, Patriots

Newhouse spent only the 2017 season as the Raiders starting right tackle. He bounced between Buffalo and Carolina last year but started for the Pats this year. The Saints cut him before the season and Newhouse appeared in 15 games for New England. His playing time tapered off towards the end of the season.  PFF graded him 62.8 across 729 offensive snaps for the Patriots.

Shilique Calhoun, Patriots

Calhoun appeared in 15 games for the Patriots as a standup edge rusher. He registered one forced fumble and 9 tackles. The 2016 third-round pick spent three years with the Raiders before they finally let him walk. he did not play in the final three games or playoff game.

Jared Veldheer, Packers

One of the last great picks of Al Davis, Veldheer joined the Packers late. He only played in two regular seasons game for the Packers. However, he played most of the offensive snaps in the Divisional round versus the Seahawks. The 32-year-old veteran has battled injuries since leaving the Raiders but he is still a solid pro at the final stage of his career.

Stefen Wisniewski, Chiefs

The Wiz Kid was one of Reggie McKenzie’s first draft picks. However, he walked to the Jaguars a few years later. He spent the last few seasons playing guard for the Eagles including their Super Bowl season. The Chiefs picked him up in the middle of the year. He played in limited spots until the final two weeks of the season. He has played a ton in the Chiefs last two contests during the regular season and the two playoff games. He is basically the only former Raiders player in the Super Bowl.

Corey Liuget, Bills

The Raiders signed Liuget after the preseason. He did not get a sack for the Silver and Blak but he did get one along with ten tackles for the Bills in seven games. The former Chargers first-rounder battled a lot of injuries during his time there.

Jon Feliciano, Bills

Feliciano famously said he could start. He got more than $7 million from the Bills in free agency last year to prove that. The 28-year-old played over 900 offensive snaps and got a 64.1 grade from PFF.

Lorenzo Alexander, Bills

This 36-year-old Oakland native spent only the  2015 season with the Raiders. He broke out as a Pro Bowler the next year. The past few years he has bounced in and out of the starting lineup. This year was a down year with only two sacks in 16 games and seven starts. The backer appeared in 48 percent of the Bills snaps which is his lowest percentage since leaving the Raiders. He is a free agent this year.

Lee Smith, Bills

Derek Carr’s former security blanket and expert blocker returned to Buffalo this year. He caught only four passes in five starts across 16 appearances. He did play a ton in the Wild Card game the Bills lost.

Seth Roberts, Ravens

Speaking of Carr’s favorite weapons, Seth Roberts played in 16 games with the Ravens. He caught 21 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns. The 28-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Ravens after the Raiders cut him in the offseason.

Jihad Ward, Ravens

Ward matched his Raiders career sack total in 11 games with the Ravens, registering only one sack. Ward got three last year with the Colts but only stayed three games with them this year. The 25-year-old former Raiders first-rounder is a free agent this offseason.

Justin Ellis, Ravens

Nose tackle Justin Ellis got his walking papers from the Raiders this year. He went on to play in four games for the Ravens this year. Ellis registered six tackles for the year and one in the playoff game versus the Titans. He is a free agent after this season.

Not that you were wondering.

Still, once a Raiders, always a Raiders. Did I miss any?




The Raiders already made their big splash

If you expected a marquee free agency signing or hoped for one like I did, you’re real disappointed with this week’s haul. It’s understandable since the Raiders signed a 33-year-old Jordy Nelson, four defensive starters from non-playoff teams, three reserve skill players you’ve never heard of and a long snapper.

This really shouldn’t be surprising since Oakland prefers to build through the draft. Plus, the Raiders already made their major move in free agency. That was signing head coach Jon Gruden.

Adding Gruden won’t impact the salary cap but it’s the marquee move of the free agent. If you were expecting a big name with dollars to upstage that you were setting yourself up for failure.

Yes, there’s no Suh, Honeybadger or Tru coming despite whatever source said that might happen.

Instead, Oakland will try to grab impact players in the draft. They’ll bank on Gruden coaching up mediocre plays. They will hope a new staff wit structure and scheme will help this team improve naturally.

Hopefully, there right. The regime will need to bat 1000 in the NFL Draft if they hope to construct a Super Bowl roster.

Plus, this team needs to win immediately as they’re facing relocation in a season or two. If this team stumbles out of the gate, expect a ton of hostile fans at home. They will cite this free agency and last season as examples of McKenzie letting them down.

Again, the hope is McKenzie and Gruden are right that they can coach up some average NFL talent. That these veterans are hungry and ready to buy into Gruden’s schemes.

That means all we can do is what and see. Trust the process, no matter how tired of it you are.

Free Agency Watch and Wish List

Here is a comprehensive list of how the Raiders should value free agents. Free Agency opens today and these players are grouped by the wave. This isn’t necessarily a ranking so much as it shows what players should be a priority as well as their value to the Raiders.

Top Guys

These guys will get the big money and they will get it fast. Oakland will be lucky to get any of them with only about $15 million in cap space and Khalil Mack‘s extension upcoming. This group is ranked by priority.

Mo Wilkerson

Trumaine Johnson

Malcolm Butler

Sheldon Richardson

Allen Robinson

Sammy Watkins

Dontari Poe

Nate Solder

Kenny Vaccaro

Jimmy Graham

Andrew Norwell

Tyler Eifert

Second-Tier Guys who fit a need

This group doesn’t have the same name recognition, age, production or upside but they’re still ballers. Big money will not come for this group as fast as the first tier. Thus, they may take the most money they can get early from a team who really wants them. Otherwise,  they can wait until the market is more stable and a team really needs to spend some money.

Eric Reid

Star Lotulelei

Nigel Bradham

Bashaud Breeland

Aaron Colvin

Tahir Whitehead

Justin Bethel

Nickell Robey-Coleman

Carlos Hyde

Isiah Crowell

Tre Boston

Patrick Robinson

Paul Richardson

Marquis Lee

Zach Brown

Adrian Clayborn

Terrelle Pryor

EJ Gaines

Morris Claiborne

Deshawn Shead

DeMarcco Murray

Bennie Logan

Avery Williamson

Derrick Coleman

Dion Lewis

Peter Warrilow

Todd Davis

This is where the Raiders have made their living in free agency. If the money and team fit is right, Oakland can fill some positions of need by this group that is often overlooked. The Raiders won’t overpay for anyone in this bracket.

Under the Radar Guys for down the line

This group is filled with starting experience. Players in this bracket have proven themselves as starters and key role players. They’ve played at a high level but age, injuries, limited upside and inconsistencies keep them from being in a higher bracket.

Morgan Burnett

Prince Amukamara

Demario Davis

Philip Gaines

DJ Hayden

Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Luke Willson

Jerick McKinnon

Jeremy Lane

Brandon Boykin

Jeremy Hill

David Bass

Cody Davis

Cornellius Carradine

Justin Pugh

Bradley McDougald

Benson Mayowa

Pierre Desir

Kendall Wright

Kamar Aiken

Benjamin Ljalana

Kendall Wright

John Brown

Dontrelle Inman

Jaron Brown

Rex Burkhead

Tavon Wilson

Korey Toomer

Cameron Fleming

Charles Simms

Oakland can fill some key starters and depth players from this bargain bin. However, a team who thinks they can put this player in the best position may make one of these players an offer they can not refuse.

On the downswing

Again, these players have proven themselves in the league. However, they will have to continue proving themselves. Unless a team falls in love with one of them or desperately needs to spend money, these players won’t see a ton of cash.

Ron Parker

LeGarrette Blount

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Lamar Houston

Ricky Jean-Francois

Andre Smith

Da’Norris Searcy

Nick Fairley

Virgil Green

Clinton McDonald

Doug Martin

Pernell McPhee

Courtney Upshaw

Akeem Ayers

Davon House

Jerrell Freeman

Tramon Williams

Anthony Fasano

Zach Miller

Quinton Demps

TJ Ward

Alan Branch

Will Hayes

Mike Wallace

Conner Barwin

Tyvon Branch

Jon Sullivan

Matt Slauson

Byron Maxwell

Darius Butler

Eric Decker

Willie Young

Ahtyba Rubin

Shareece Wright

Rashaan Melvin

Sterling Moore

Stephen Peaea

Alfred Morris

Alterraun Verner

Brian Quick

Michael Floyd

Terrance West

Jarvis Jenkins

John Jenkins

James Hurst

Josh Bynes

Will Compton

Lance Dunbar

The biggest difference between this wave of free agency and the previous one is age. Expect these guys to sign contracts after the draft when teams have a better idea of their needs before camp.


These are the ego signings. A coach will think they are the ones to unlock the potential that this group has shown. Injuries, scheme-fit and inconsistency have placed them in this wave. However, age, flashes and upside put them in this group over some of the others.

Alex Okafor

Donte Moncrief

Jordan Matthews

Barkevious Mingo

Preston Brown

Kony Ealy

Luke Joeckel

Trent Murphy

Albert Wilson

Dominique Easley

Aaron Lynch

Damien Williams

Kevin Minter

Jared Crick

Greg Robinson

Taylor Gabriel

D’anthony Thomas

Marcus Smith

Jeremiah Attaochu

Richard Rodgers

Trey Burton

Anthony Hitchens

Eddie Lacy

Cody Latimer

Some of these players were drafted high. Others were not. Nonetheless, they’re all explosive athletes who were suppossed to dominate the competition. A team might fall in love with that and gamble on them. The Raiders might be one but Oakland will only do it if the price is right and the player fits the culture.

Veterans worth a gamble

Many of these players have earned the right to decide how they want to go out. Money grab and mentorship role with a young team or a reserve role with a contender? Some are more name than game these days.

Derrick Johnson

Julius Peppers

Haloti Ngata

Kyle Williams

Charles Johnson

Pacman Jones

Mike Tolbert

Jonathan Stewart

Elvis Dumervil

Brent Grimes

Johnathan Joseph

Sean Witherspoon

Danny Amendola

Benjamin Watson

Frank Gore

Karlos Dansby

Paul Posluszny

Leon Hall

Martellus Bennett

Not all of these players are Hall of Famers but they’ve all played at a high level and reserve the right to decide what value football has to them. The NFL is not for long and these players will have their value set by other teams. It will be up to them if another season is worth it or not. Either way, Oakland could use their leadership.

If you want to know numbers, positions, and former teams then click on the linked names. Ultimately, this is more big board than it is predictions. Can’t wait to see what the Raiders do when Free Agency opens at Midnight.


Raiders Rants: Cordarrelle Patterson, Marshall Newhouse and More

The Oakland Raiders finally made some Free Agency moves after what seemed like an endless first few day of the new NFL year.

Most recently, Oakland adds kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson. The two-time All-Pro brings the gamechanging and consistent return ability that this team has lacked for years.

More importantly, it is a two-year deal with a team option for the second year. Reggie McKenzie strikes again with a bargain free agent.

Besides the return game, Patterson could have ability to challenge Seth Roberts in the slot receiver position. First, Patterson will need to work on his concentratrion on catches and refine his route tree.

At the very least, Patterson brings the 4.42 speed that late owner Al Davis would’ve have drooled on. Thus, Patterson can serve as a fourth receiver to stretch the field via vertical passes. Essentially, this assumes Andre Holmes’ role in the offense over the past two seasons.

Patterson is also a former Tennessee Volunteer which RM loves.

Not to mention, the Raiders signed Marshall Newhouse over the weekend. He wasn’t a highly coveted free agent but he is a solid depth veteran on a cheap contract. Apparently, McKenzie helped evaluate Newhouse when he was in Green Bay.

Either way, I’d expect the Raiders to add a tackle in the draft since Menelik Watson bounced. Oakland needs help as Donald Penn is aging and Austin Howard has been inconsistence.

Speaking of players leaving, Malcolm Smith, D.J. Hayden, Stacy McGee and Nate Allen are among key players not returning to the team. Those guys all played hard for the Silver and Black, so I wish them luck. 

All of those players can easily be upgraded, but it should be noted that teams wasted no time signing them. Clearly, they saw something that the Raiders did when they added them.

Hayden might actually do well with the Detroit Lions. He’ll have way less pressure there. Meanwhile, McGee and Watson will have to live up to their new starting expectations. Khalil Mack should be happy that Watson is in Denver now. That should equal more sacks.

As for Allen and Smith, neither lived up to the 2015 free agency hype. However, they were both constant pros who made plays at times. Not to mention, they helped change the Raiders’ losing culture. Hopefully, they can pull it together and remain solid NFL players.

Moving forward, the Raiders still have massive needs in the middle of their defense. Key targets like Dontari Poe and Johnathan Hankins should be on the Raiders’ priority list. Especially when you consider this DT draft class is not as good as last year.

At middle linebacker, this draft class is deep. The Raiders could draft a player here in the top of they draft. Either way, they should still add a savy veteran. Luckily, Donta Hightower, Perry Riley and Zachary Brown are all available. They’re the top players at the position. They have a ton of experience and they are all on the right side of 30. Considering all three are available, Oakland should be able to get whichever one they want. I’d expect Riley is the first priority since he joined the team last year. Then again, wouldn’t they have already signed him?

Nonetheless, stay posted for more Raiders free agency updates.

Oakland Raiders: Free Agency Blueprint

The Oakland Raiders regime consistently adds competition to their roster through Free Agency. The Raiders will continue this trend by addressing each need with a capable starter or solid backup.

This formula helps steady the blue-worker culture of Jack Del Rio’s roster. It saves owner Mark Davis money by not cashing huge checks for any single Free Agent. Plus it gives general Manager Reggie McKenzie freedom in the draft.

Here is how the Raiders can win the NFL offseason, as the official NFL new year begins with the opening of Free Agency. Expect them to hone in on the running game and pass defense in the 2016 offense. They worked on run defense and passing attack last year.

1. Resign Donald Penn

The Raiders need someone ready to grow Derek Carr and Amari Cooper on offense. Unfortunately, that guy is not in free agency. The closest thing is Russell Okung, but he is not worth spending big bucks on. Also, count the Raiders out of the bidding war for Osmele.

It seems unlikely Penn returns because the sides could have signed a deal during the season. However, he is the perfect two year stop gap as the team drafts his replacement.

2. Sign a linebacker

The Raiders can cut Curtis Lofton now or before the season. Either way the team needs to upgrade the linebacker position. These players could be found in the draft. However, this talent group is top heavy at the position. Add  Danny Travathan, Jerrell Freeman or Bruce Irvin. Good age and plenty of experience. The Raiders got the cash to make this fast and easy.

They may also select a linebacker in the draft. Regardless, signing a starting caliber linebacker is a priority.

3. Grab some safeties

Forget your opinion on Nate Allen. Plus, Taylor Mays and Larry Asante are best as special teams. Therefore, the Raiders need to add at least two safeties via the draft or free agency.

The Raiders will make a run on a starting safety like Eric Weddle, Tashaun Gipson or George Iloka. After locking one up, they’ll add a fringe starter to the mix like Sean Richardson, Walter Thurmond, Hussain Abdullah or Michael Griffin.

4. Add a pass rusher or two

It is the old chicken or egg debate. What came first, the poor secondary or poor pass rush? I know the Raiders pass rush was decent last year, but expect the team to build on the strength. Del Rio and McKenzie both like building teams from the inside out.

Olivier Vernon and Malik Jackson spark a lot of interest for the Raiders. However, Oakland will probably pass on their high price tags. The Raiders should try adding someone like Jason Pierre-Paul on a fair market deal. That could move Khalil Mack into full-time linebacker duty. Either way that is an upgrade to the pass rush.

Otherwise the group can add some bargain bin veterans via the Justin Tuck role. How about Mario Williams or Chris Long? Both players could play all along the defensive line or rush the passer standing up. Charles Johnson might also be someone they add later in the process.

5. Add an offensive guard.

I am willing to believe this unit believes in John Feliciano. That is why they will not pay Osmele $10 million a yer to play guard. Osmele is not the answer at left tackle either, despite him starting a few games there last season.

The Raiders could still add a quality starter at the position. This could include Alex Boone, Jeff Allen or Ramon Foster. Otherwise they will probably take a flier on a veteran like Jahri Evans or Geoff Schwartz. This atleast gives them another year or two to develop Feliciano.

6. Bring in a corner

The Raiders will probably be linked to high end corners like Sean Smith and Prince Amukamara. However, they will probably see what they have in the trio of T.J. Carrie, D.J. Hayden and David Amerson. All three are young enough for another season of consideration. Adding some pass rush will help this group out.

Nonetheless, the Raiders will still sign some talent at the position. They’ll extend serious interest to Casey Heyward, Jeremy Lane, Morris Claiborne or Brandon Boykin early.  Heyward is the best of that group by far, but the rest of the guys could prove themselves in the Raiders secondary. As a consolation prize, the Raiders may give Leon Hall, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson or Leonis McKelvin one last shot at playing time.

7. Add some skill players

The Raiders should express some interest in young position skill guys. The Raiders are more talented at running back and receiver than past years. However, they can still add a young player to push the incumbents at receiver or running back. Jermaine Kearse, Rishard Matthews and Marvin Jones should be in the Raiders spending. Anquan Boldin, Roddy White or Brandon LaFell might also bring their last bit of gas to the organization. The Raiders need another deep threat to replace Andre Holmes. Adding a big receiver could also spell Amari Cooper into the slot.

At running back it is much of the same. Some okay veterans and okay starters. The Raiders like Latavius Murray off of a Pro Bowl year. The team won’t overpay for Doug Martin or Lamar Miller despite how beast of a compliment they would be for Murray. Ronnie Hillman or CJ Anderson make sense as they are both young. James Starks or Arian Foster will be connected to the organization. No matter who they sign, the Raiders should also add a runner from the top five rounds of the draft. Unless they strike gold with Martin, Miller or Matt Forte.

8. Draft the best player available

The Raiders have no need to reach for a position in the draft. McKenzie does a good job at letting the draft play out. He will do the same by drafting the best overall talent in the draft.

Expect any player the Raiders draft to compete for a starting position. I predict the team will use two of its’ first three picks on defense. That is only if a really good running back or tackle falls into a position they can not resist.

9. Bring back key players

Keep Denico Autry, Seth Roberts and any other players they like from last season. That includes guys who might become career back ups like Tony Bergstrom, Khalif Barnes or Matt McGloin. I’m not oppossed to keeping Matt McCants, Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, Taylor Mays, Neiko Thorpe or anyone else that got significant time last year. If someone else does not value them, give them at least a shot in camp. The Raiders need these guys for role positions, and they played with lots of heart in 2015.

Finally, sign Aldon Smith. Make it Happen. He is too talented to let go.

MY predictions:

  1. Sign Donald Penn
  2. Sign Danny Travathan
  3. Sign Tashaun Gipson and Sean Richardson
  4. Sign Jeff Allen
  5. Sign Jeremy Lane
  6. Sign Chris Long
  7. Sign Jermaine Kearse and CJ Anderson
  8. Draft: T. Decker, Robert Nkemdiche, Paul Perkins, Scooby Wright, Best corner, best receiver, best corner or safety.
    1. Rankins or Nkemdiche are my favorite pickers here. However this is not a bad spot for Jason Spriggs, Ronnie Staley or Taylor Decker depending on Pro Days.
    2. If Nkemdiche or Jaylon Smith land here they are two talented to let fall past the Raiders in round two. Otherwise Kenny Clark, Dorian Thompson or Deion Jones could fit here.
    3. Paul Perkins is my favorite of the second tire backs in this class. Great pass catching option. Otherwise C.J. Prosise or Tyler Ervin comes into play here also.
    4. Best linebacker, linemen or corner in this spot depending on the rest of the draft. A good defensive player like Wright might find himself here.
    5. Draft remains the same through next 3 rounds. Just add some athletes. Maybe a high ceiling guy like Rashard Robinson.



Ultimately, the Raiders will continue their trend upwards with this draft. They add plenty of B and C plus signings before killing the NFL Draft. This team would definitely compete in the NFL Playoffs.

Free Agency Radar and Big Board

Finally, free agency. The Oakland Raiders bring the second most cap to the party at just over $70 million.

The team will look to build on last year’s success by adding starters and players who can immediately compete. Although the Raiders found key players at key positions, they still have many wholes on their rosters.

Below is a list of free agents the Raiders should target. Omitted are their own free agents. Notice the list is build from the inside out, because the team will build the trenches first.

These players are ranked based on age, dollars, injuries, scheme fit and play, as well as team need.

Offensive Line
Kelchi Osmele
Russell Okung
Alex Boone
Alex Mack
Brandon Brooks
Jeff Allen
Andre Smith
Anthony Davis
Ramon Foster
Geoff Schwartz
Mitchell Schwartz 
Kelvin Beachum
Jermon Bushrod
Richie Incognito
Jahri Evans
Evan Mathis
Defensive Line
Malik Jackson
Oliver Vernon
Jason Pierre-Paul
Damon Harrison
Jaye Howard
Chris Long
Mario Wiliams
Tamba Hali
Robert Ayers
Steve McLendon
Nick Fairley
Terrance Knighton
Haloti Ngata
Derrick Shelby
Adrian Clayborn
Charles Johnson
William Hayes
BJ Raji
Ahtyba Rubin
Danny Trevathan
Bruce Irvin 
Derrick Johnson
Jerell Freeman
James Laruinaitis
Nick Perry 
Tahir Whitehead
Sean Weatherspoon
Steve Tollach
Demeco Ryans
Chad Greenway
George Illoka
Tashaun Gipson
Eric Weddle
Rodney McLeod
Mark Barron
Sean Richardson
Reggie Nelson
William Moore
Walter Thurmond
Rahim Moore
Husain Abdullah
Rashad Johnson
Louis Delmas
Sean Smith
Janoris Jenkins
Prince Amukamara
Casey Hayward
Jeremy Lane
Antonio Cromartie
Brandon Boykin
Adam Jones
Morris Claiborne
Leon Hall
Leodis McKelvin
Jerraud Powers
Kyle Wilson
Travis Benjamin
Rishard Matthews
Rueben Randle
Marvin Jones 
Jermaine Kearse
Roddy White
Brandon Lafell
Anquan Boldin
Marques Colston
Greg Jennings
Andre Johnson
Nate Washington 
Mohamed Sanu 
Brian quick
Percy Harvin
Running Backs
Lamar Miller
Doug Martin
Matt Forte
Chris Ivory
Alfred Morris
CJ Anderson
Ronnie Hillman
Charcandrick West
Arian Foster
Joique Bell
James Starks
Chris Polk
Tim Hightower
Bryce Brown

Revisiting Raiders’ Key Free Agent Signings and Draft Implications

Rodney Hudson

The Raiders had to spend on someone. Hudson was the Raiders only marquee signing and got almost 9 million a year. The center is one of PFF top rated centers and is just entering his prime. He should be the middle anchor of the offensive line and Derek Carr’s key protector.

Draft Implications: Center was not the biggest positional need for the Raiders. Even if Hudson is a clear upgrade over the regressing Wisniewski, the Raiders still need help in the interior offensive line. They gave versatile Khalif Barnes and extension but giving him competition at right guard should be a draft priority.

Dan Williams

No his name is not Suh or Pot Roast. We have heard all about how Dan Williams being among leaders for QB hurries and being a better run defender than Knighton. Well he isn’t the big name, Williams is the big presence to anchor the defense. Expect him to move all over the defensive line as the Raiders try to get their best four guys on the field between Justin Tuck, Williams, Antonio Smith, Justin Ellis, and whoever plays left end.

Draft Implications: Free Agency proves Jack Del Rio wants to build both sides of the ball inside out. Williams addition sures up the tackle position but their is still a need for someone who can legitimately rush the quarterback from a three point stance. Well tackle is not the need, do not be surprised if the Raiders take the best player available if Leonard Williams is there at No. 4. JDR wants a stout middle and L. Williams could easily be best prospect in entire draft.  

Nate Allen

Allen had a down year last season for the Eagles. Still, he is an upgrade over Usama Young and Brandin Ross. Considering both the draft and free agency safety classes were thin, it should be no surprised Allen cashed out. The good news is, Allen is versatile enough to play either safety position so he should be savy enough to mesh with Charles Woodson. As long as he doesn’t have the same injury history as Tyvon Branch it will be an Upgrade.

Draft Implications: Safety class is so weak in this draft. Still the Raiders need an eventual replacement for Woodson. Added, Allen is not elite so competition will not hurt him. Raiders should still consider the best safety available in the final days of the draft. Otherwise Keith McGill could be a candidate for a move to safety?

Curtis Lofton

Lofton was Cut after just one season with the Saints. Regardless, he is on the right side of thirty and has consistently racked up tackles each season. Lofton sures up the middle of the defense for the Raiders as long as he can stay health.

Draft Implications: It is a shame the Raiders put such a priority into middle linebacker because this class is deep. However, McKenzie, Del Rio, and Norton are former linebackers so I am sure they will take a chance on someone in the late rounds. They will probably be a special teamer, but RM will take one if they are best player available. Eitherway, the position went from weakness to strength.

Malcom Smith

Smith’s addition was probably the most intriguing of all the signings. Is the former Super Bowl Player a Sam, Will, or Mike? Or is he just a back up relegated to special teams? Whatever the case he is great insurance should Sio Moore suffer anymore injury and could be used in four linebacker sets with Moore, Mack and Lofton. Reuniting with Ken Norton Jr. should be good for him.

Draft implications: See Lofton

Trent Richardson

Raiders made the most headlines signing the former No. 3 overall pick. At 24 years old, Richardson is certainly worth the squeeze. He should compete with Latavius Murray for touches. If Richardson can even reach half of his potential the Raiders could look like genius. At worst he is a camp body.

Draft Implications: This running back class is also very deep. Raiders could have got a great value pick in the middle rounds. With Richardson, Murray, Reece, and Helu the Raiders may have already filled all of their running back roles and will probably not draft a runner.

Lee Smith

Do the Raiders really need another blocking tight end? I would have loved to see Jermaine Gresham added as he is a young steady blocker and pass catcher. However, back concerns probably deterred the Raiders. Either way the addition of Lee over better pass catching tight ends prove the Raiders are happy with Mychael Rivera’s production.

Draft Implications: Again, I think this proves the Raiders feel like they have a quality starter in Rivera. With Lee there, the tight end role should be filled and the Raiders probably won’t draft tight end.

Ron Helu

The running back brings value as a third down back and H back. With the team already struggling to get Reece involved, I don’t see Helu being a huge contributor.

Draft Implications: See Richardson.

Raiders Free Agency: Window Shopping

Any talk about Free Agency has pretty much been irrelevant until yesterday’s franchise tag deadline. Now that teams have established exactly who will be able to hit the open market, it is time to sort out all of the Raiders rumors. With the Raiders having up to 70 million in cap space (depending on your source), Raider nation has all the right to dream about their favorite free agents being in Silver and Black. In a perfect world, these are the ways Raiders fill position needs.

via google images

1. Ndamukong Suh- Defensive Tackle

Isn’t it obvious? Suh is not only the best defensive tackle on the market but he might be the best talent to hit the free market in a while. Suh has already said his agent and dollar signs will determine where he plays the rest of his career.

Therefore, the Raiders come in to play because they have the funds and the renegade persona that match Suh’s needs. Still, I think this is more dream than reality because will Reggie McKenzie ever pay any player more than 20 million? I know the Raiders are desperate for impact players but would they really have Suh opposed to two marquee free agents with all the wholes they have? Moreover, the more mainstream media connects  Suh with the Raiders the less likely I think it occurs( Cough DJAX, Harbaugh). Even though I have lobbied for Suh for over a year, I think he probably cashes out elsewhere.

2. Randall Cobb- Receiver

Dez Bryant or Demarius Thomas would have been here had they not been franchised tag. That makes the 25 year old Cobb the prime meat of this free agent receiving class. Cobb not only has dynamic receiving ability but he can also bring value in the return game. His connection with Reggie McKenzie dating back to Green Bay make this an easy prediction for most.

Out of all the dreams listed here, Cobb is probably the most likely to be in Silver and Black. However, with rumors circulating that he might command 12 million, I think this is more fantasy. The Raiders are in a power position at No. 4 in the draft where receiver might not be as pressing of a need as people think. Also noted, there are less expensive starters on the open market. Hence, Cobb will have money thrown at him, but I think the Raiders ultimately dip out of this bidding war.

3. Greg Hardy- Defensive End

Jason Pierre-Paul would have been here, but he too became victim of the franchise tag. Hence, Hardy becomes the best edge player available as he was a dominate player two seasons ago

Unlike others on this list, I do not think signing Hardy is a dream because of the price. Rather, Hardy will be a dream to Raider Nation because nothing McKenzie has done in his past shows he will risk so much financial resources on players with as many off the field problems as Hardy. Someone will gamble on Hardy’s off the field problems but it will not be the Raiders.

4. Rodney Hudson- Center

Hudson has been linked to the Raiders as they have elected to like Stephen Wisenewski hit the open market. Hudson had a top rating by Pro Football focus makes him clearly the best target.

Still, letting Wisnewski walk is not a sign the Raiders thought they could upgrade at the position. Instead, I think it signals the Raiders will not break the bank on a center. Interior linemen can usually be found in the middle of the draft and that is the more realistic outlet for McKenzie to fill the whole at center.

5. Julius Thomas – Tight End

Thomas has had two dominate seasons making him the best tight end available. Him being a bay area native and familiarity with Jack Del Rio make this another easy link.

Still, considering the Raiders have young Rivera, they will not commit so much money to a tight end. With Thomas rumored to get 7-9 million, the Raiders will pass, especially on a tight end who can’t block. As i said before, they have Rivera to be a mediocre blocker already, so he will probably go to Jacksonville.

Overall, Raider fans have every reason to be excited for free agency. They should enjoy dreaming about the above players for the next week, because the reality is the Raiders might end up pursuing other less expensive options than the more quality players listed above.

Terrelle Pryor trade makes sense

Here is a column I wrote for my school paper.


Original post- http://sundial.csun.edu/2014/04/seahawks-make-smart-move-with-low-cost-aquisition-of-raiders-pryor/


NFL teams began their quest for Super Bowl XLIX Tuesday with the beginning of offseason training activities (OTA). OTAs are teams’ first opportunity to welcome new players and assimilate them with team culture.

The defending champion Seattle Seahawks added one more new addition, by exchanging a seventh round pick in this year’s draft to the Oakland Raiders for quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Oakland’s short-lived Pryor saga comes to an official end, despite Pryor’s show of promise as playcaller.

His departure signifies the end of an era, as Pryor was the last player ever selected by Al Davis, Raiders’ legendary owner and figurehead. Davis selected Pryor in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft, after Pryor was suspended for a well known violation of NCAA rules.

Davis died later that season and would never see Pryor play a down of football. Neither would Davis be able to develop Pryor into the running and passing threat Davis envisioned when he selected him.

In fact, The Oakland Raiders never did Pryor any real justice as the developmental quarterback of the future.

The same year as Pryor’s selection, the team acquired Cincinnati Bengals “retired” quarterback Carson Palmer for an attempt at a playoff run. Exchanging a first and second round pick for Palmer sealed the team’s fate to the former Bengals’ quarterback for a season and half, while Pryor mainly sat on the bench.

Last off season, the Raiders said goodbye to Palmer, and added Seattle’s then back-up quarterback Matt Flynn. Then the team drafted a quarterback in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, and signed undrafted free agent Matt McGloin. However, Pryor successfully won the starting position, despite coaches handing Flynn the job initially.

Even after winning the job and almost upsetting the Indianapolis Colts in week 1 with a record-setting performance, Pryor was benched in favor of McGloin, after a knee injury and struggles with defenses’ adjustments to his running ability.

This off season, the Raiders traded for veteran Matt Schaub to be their starter. Combined with the Raiders interest in quarterback prospects in the draft and their fascination with McGloin, the Pryor trade was a foreseen conclusion.

The Oakland Raiders are lucky to have even gotten a seventh round pick for Pryor. The media and NFL knew Pryor had requested for a trade. It was not a secret that Pryor and Raiders’ head coach Dennis Allen did not mesh well. Pryor’s preference to improvise with running plays always seemed to throw Allen’s game plan for a loop.

Whether or not Pryor succeeds in the league, it was time for the Raiders to move on from Pryor. The team believes in Schaub and McGloin enough that Pryor’s play making ability would have wasted on the bench.

It is a shame the Raiders bid the 24-year-old goodbye, because he showed promise in his first few starts.  Sure Pryor struggled in his first season starting, but the Raiders never gave the raw prospect a real chance at growth from the experience the same way other current Pro Bowlers have been given early in their career. The Raiders need offensive play makers, but they effectively traded away one of their best.

As for the Seahawks, they added a play maker for a bargain price. Having coached at USC when Pryor was dominating high School and college football, Carroll is familiar with the type of person Pryor is. Seeing an inevitable release from the Raiders, the Seahawks would not have given the Raiders a draft pick for Pryor if they didn’t think he added something to their team.

Until the  Raiders, Pryor never had anyone work on his quarterback mechanics. Having relied on his athletic ability throughout his playing career, Pryor had a substantial learning curve. Yet Pryor’s god-given talent and size makes his ceiling unlimited.

Even with the turmoil in Oakland, Pryor never complained or made excuses. He showed his skin as a true competitor and deserves to be in a situation where he can develop as a quarterback.

Pryor joins a unique Seahawks’ culture which inspires competition, at every level. No, Pryor will not end up as the starter, because that is young phenom Russell Wilson’s job. Yet, Pryor could easily unseed Tarvaris Jackson as the back-up, and excel if Wilson were ever to go down with an injury.

Added, Pryor’s unique skill set gives the Seahawks another running option in scoring situations. Plus, his size and ability resembles a quarterback the Seahawks play twice a year in San Francisco 49er’s Colin Kaepernick. The Seahawks can use Pryor’s dual-threat skills to prepare for their division rivals, the 49ers.

Seattle offers a scenario for Pryor that he never had in Oakland. Pryor finally has an opportunity to develop. Not only does the Seahawk’s offense suit Pryor’s ability, but he can learn from Carroll and Wilson without pressure to produce. Either Way, Pryor’s opportunity in Seattle may be his last chance to live up to the hype generated from his playing days at Ohio State.

Even if Pryor does not fit with the Seahawks, and they are unable to utilize his potential then they can simply cut him. The Pryor trade offers Seattle a high-reward playmaker at a low-risk price.

A Raiders Fun Friday

Jones-Drew signs with Raiders earlier today, via Raiders.com

Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie did not waste any time on his Friday, and cleared his to-do list by signing two more veteran defensive linemen and running back.

I took some time to address a potential Free Agency signing for the Raiders, with Desean Jackson, but the Raiders already brought someone home to the bay-area.

Former Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew signed with Oakland for a 3 year deal, after spending his high school years in the bay and college years at UCLA.

MJD has shown some decline over the past seasons with injury, and he has a lot of miles of him. However, the undersized back is still capable of taking the ball to the house when he touches it. He has capable hands and is not afraid to pass block, which gives him value on third down.

I expect him to compete with Darren McFadden for time in the backfield. I think the result will be the two having split series. They have a similar skill set with down-hill running ability and versatility. At worse, Jones is a great insurance policy for McFadden’s reoccuring injuries. At Best it gives the Raiders two dynamic playmakers to hand the ball to. It is clear McKenzie is building a team that can pound the rock with the signing of the two RBS and offensive linemen.

McKenzie continued his trend of building a physical team by signing two more defensive linemen for depth. Pat Simms returns after probably being undervalued in the Free Agency market.

Last Year, Simms was a run stopper for the Raiders, but I think he is better in a reserve role. The Raiders have enough pass rushing options with Smith and McGee on the inside that Simms should play less 3rd downs and focus on gasing it in run situations. His big body gives the Raiders defense resatility for 4-3 or 3-4 fronts, but he can also eat blockers and allow the linebackers to make plays.

CJ Wilson, a defensive end who spent his career with the Packers, was also signed today. Wilson has some starting experience, but does not have a lot of sacks. That is normal for an end in a 3-4 defense so it should not be alarming. Luckily, is only 26 years old so he still has some potential. His signing is so Reggie McKenzie, but it is probably a result of the Raiders missing out on Alex Carrington early in the week.

Wilson is probably another add for depth. He has some versatility and will probably back up Antonio smith as a 3 technique or end in running situations.

Overall, Friday was a great day to be a Raider Fan, hopefully McKenzie can build on today headed into the week by signing Desean Jackson.