It might be hard to picture at the moment but the Las Vegas Raiders offense is building something legitimate. Let’s be clear– they were not a good offense in 2019. While they were 11th in yards, they were 24th in total points. But behind a handful of good signings and a crop of good draft choices, the pieces are in place to have a top 10 overall offense in 2020. We’ll take a look at the young pieces (under age 30) the Raiders have on their roster and what the team needs to turn the corner.
A Look at the Future of the Las Vegas Raiders Offense
Rookie running back Josh Jacobs (21) is the centerpiece of the offense. He’s the odds on favorite to win offensive rookie of the year and is a Pro Bowl alternate. Jacobs’ 2019 total of 1,150 rushing yards ranks as the sixth-highest single-season total in Raiders history. We can only imagine where he would’ve ended up if he hadn’t missed three games with a shoulder injury.
Tight end Darren Waller (27) is also a Pro Bowl alternate. The former wide receiver put up 90 receptions for 1,145 yards. Those numbers rank eighth and 14th in the Raiders single-season record books respectively. He fits in perfectly with what Jon Gruden likes to do and is exactly the type of target Derek Carr likes throwing to. With only three touchdowns this season, expect to see some positive regression next season.
The Raiders have valuable, young tackles in Trent Brown (26) and Kolton Miller (24). Brown was named to his first Pro Bowl after allowing only one sack this season. He quieted concerns people had about him switching from left tackle in New England to right tackle in Oakland. Miller improved immensely from year one to year two and is only getting better. He allowed nine fewer sacks in 2019 than he did in 2018. These two will be vital moving forward as the AFC is littered with pass-rushing talent.
The Supporting Players
Rookies Alec Ingold (23) and Hunter Renfrow (24) are great supporting pieces in this offense. Fullback Ingold was another Pro Bowl alternate and opened holes all season. He was also invaluable in short-yardage and goal-line formations. Renfrow was nothing short of outstanding in the slot. 23 of his 49 catches were on third down and he converted 70 percent of them. Tyrell Williams (27) needs to get healthy but he should be the field stretcher the Raiders lacked this season.
The Lightning Rod
Quarterback Derek Carr (28) is solid in this Raiders offense. He may not reach the heights that Raider fans hoped for after his 2016 season but he won’t be easily replaced. In 2019, he finished top ten in completion percentage, yards per attempt, QBR, passer rating, fourth-quarter comebacks, and game-winning drives. Carr is an imperfect player. He has a tendency to check down too early and seems to make decisions about where he’s going with the ball before the snap a little too often. That said, there doesn’t look to be a quarterback available who is an immediate upgrade. Be prepared to see Carr in 2020.
The Missing Piece(s)
With that talented core, what’s needed to make this a top 10 unit? The Raiders could desperately use a number one receiver. They need speed to take the top of the defense and a player or players who can make plays with the ball in their hands. While the Raiders will have roughly 70M to spend in free agency, the position looks pretty lean. It appears that one of the two first-round draft picks the Raiders own will be used on a wideout even if a free agent is signed. Secondarily, another running back is needed to spell Josh Jacobs on early downs. It would free Jacobs up to play more on passing downs which would give Gruden and Carr another weapon to use.
If the Las Vegas Raiders attack the off-season and come out of it with a number one wide receiver, that’ll be a huge step. Add a big running back, and a healthy Tyrell Williams and we’ll see a team that jumps up into the top 10 in the offensive rankings.