The more talent the better. The Oakland Raiders have a lot of it, and more importantly, they have talented position groups. Oakland is a team expected to be on the cusp of winning a championship. Deep pools in various positions will be needed if a championship is the goal. Talent spread throughout is fine, but it’s best to invest time and money into certain position groups to ensure maximum productivity. Here are some of the best position groups on the Oakland Raiders.
Oakland Raiders Best Position Groups
First of all, Oakland’s offensive line isn’t just a great group as far as the team goes, they’re elite. Along with the Cowboys, the Raiders have the best offensive line in the league. The unit gave up a league best 18.0 sacks in 2016. Free agent acquisitions like Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, and Rodney Hudson have proven to be worth every penny. Penn only allowed two sacks the entire season. After becoming the highest paid guard in football, Osemele delivered with his physical play, opening holes for running backs and helping keep a clean pocket. Hudson has been consistently dominant, and a great leader at center. Quarterback Derek Carr and Hudson seem to have a great connection.
Also, as a drafted guard, Gabe Jackson has been an underrated player. Jackson has been a starter for the Raiders since the day he was drafted. Right tackle Vadal Alexander was a late round pick that got some playing time in 2016. Alexander and Denver Kirkland should have a nice battle to see if one of them can stick at right tackle for 2017.
Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree each eclipsed 1,000 yards in 2016. The dynamic duo torched cornerbacks all season long. Seth Roberts even caught his fair share of clutch touchdowns. Wide receivers accounted for 18 of the 29 receiving touchdowns last season. Crabtree is a veteran with a knack for getting open and catching pretty much anything thrown his way. In addition, Cooper is a young, explosive playmaker that should only get better. Finally, Roberts might have a problem with drops, but with the game on the line, he’s incredibly clutch.
Furthermore, with a new offensive coordinator at the helm, its possible that the receivers could be used in more different and creative ways within the offense. As a result, one of the team’s best position groups could get even better.
This one is a little bit of a projection. The Oakland Raiders could easily have one of the best tight end groups in the league. Clive Walford is stepping into his third year with coaches and fans expecting to see a huge season after two pedestrian years. Walford has always been projected to be a big time playmaker at the next level, and it’s time he starts to show it. Also, free agent pickup Jared Cook is expected to have a big year after being huge for the Green Bay Packers last season. Cook is an established tight end, and the connection between Cook and Carr could help add another dimension to the offense.
Finally, after an injured season, Lee Smith should get back to business. Smith is one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL, and is used primarily as an extra lineman. Smith has an intimidating presence and is never afraid to cause some trouble. Without question, he will enjoy blocking for his teammates again.