Oakland Raiders 2017 Team Needs
The Raiders, and quarterback David Carr, enjoyed breakout seasons in 2016. Not only did they make the playoffs but they contended for the AFC West, the most competitive division in the league, until the final weeks of the season. Oakland is a relatively young team with impact players like Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack locked up for the next few seasons. With a possible move to Las Vegas in the team’s future, and a history of star power on their roster, it will be interesting to see how the Raiders approach this offseason.
Primary Needs: RB, OLB, DT
Secondary Needs: S, CB, OT
Free Agency Strategy: The Raiders have just under $40 million in cap space which is about the league average. The team should be able to keep some of their own free agents and add a player as well. Kawann Short would be a score, although he is likely to receive the franchise tag. Domata Peko, Dominique Easley, Nick Fairley, and Tony McDaniel would all be in play for Oakland. Malcolm Smith seems like a good bet to be resigned, although the Raiders might wish to upgrade that position through this year’s draft. The team might look to replace DJ Hayden with a cheaper veteran cornerback like Nolan Carroll or Dre Kirkpatrick.
Draft Strategy: The Raiders first pick is at 24 overall where the team might should have a shot at several players that fill positions of need. Zach Cunningham and Jarrad Davis are the two best weakside linebacker prospects in this draft, despite being highly ranked middle linebackers, either would be a great addition. Bay area collegiate Christian McCaffrey would be an interesting choice as a running back, given his ability to shine in the passing game. Malik McDowell could garner some interest from the team as a defensive tackle. In round two, a running back like Corey Clement, defensive tackle like Montravius Adams, or cornerback like Jourdan Lewis would all be nice additions. Since the team’s starters are in place at safety, cornerback, and offensive tackle those positions could all be filled in the middle rounds.