Last season, Derek Carr was sacked 51 times and was under pressure nearly every time he dropped back. The Raiders’ newest rookies Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker allowed 26 sacks just between the two of them and weren’t progressing a fast as Jon Gruden would’ve hoped. For free agency, the Raiders had cap space and were determined to get Carr some help. The Raiders swooped in to sign free agent tackle Trent Brown, and though they perhaps overpaid, the team made it clear that he’s going to be a structural piece in their offense for years to come. Brown’s career highlights include him absolutely pancaking Khalil Mack in a Week Seven matchup last season, and recovering a fumble during a game in 2016. His sturdy presence up front will give Carr some breathing room to deliver his passes.
What to Expect From the Oakland Raiders Recent Acquisitions
Poor Receiving Corps
While having a decent offensive line would’ve been nice last season, the Raiders receiving core would’ve stunk up the place in the meantime. Whenever Carr had a second to breathe, there was nobody to throw it to. Seth Roberts and geriatric Jordy Nelson aren’t going to cut it for them, and luckily they fixed their woes in that department. While Nelson’s and Roberts’ yards combined could barely eclipse 1,200, they should get that type of production out of just one of their new guys.
Not only did the Raiders obtain the best receiver in the game right now in Antonio Brown, they also snagged Tyrell Williams away from the Chargers, and drafted Hunter Renfrow from Clemson. Williams will surely take the pressure off Brown, who’s sure to see his share of double teams this season. Williams notched 41 receptions, 653 yards, and five touchdowns last season. Renfrow tallied over 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns in his four-year career at Clemson. The Raiders improved their receiving core considerably, which can allow Derek Carr to silence his critics.
Improvements in the Secondary
If you thought the Raiders’ woes would stop at just two areas of the team, you’d be wrong. Their secondary was also pretty atrocious. Although improved from the 2017 season, the 2018 squad could still barely grab an interception or force a fourth down. The Raiders have already acquired former New York Giants safety Curtis Riley and former Los Angeles Ram Lamarcus Joyner to pair up with Karl Joseph. Riley may be the Raiders best acquisition in this department, as he came down with four interceptions, 75 tackles, and a touchdown last season.
Oakland may finally have themselves a defense that opposing quarterbacks won’t look forward to facing. While the Raiders went 4-12 last season, a good handful of their games could’ve gone the other way. The Raiders now have pieces who are capable of stepping up in high-pressure moments. With a beefed-up offensive line, a top five receiving corps, and an overhauled secondary, the Oakland Raiders appear to be a team on the rise heading into the 2019 NFL season.