Raider Nation, I feel your pain. Believe me, I repeat I feel your pain. I have been a Raiders fan for over 20 years and is tired of the losing. The Raiders have been on America's Funniest Home Videos for the past decade. I am also tired of the terrible management of the salary cap and the bovine draft picks. This team has lacked stability for the past decade. We all know Mr. Al Davis is the main blame for the downfall of this once promised franchise. But no more in 2014 and here on out will the Raiders be terrible! We finally have a general manager who has a concrete plan and vision to get the Raiders back to "Commitment to Excellence."
Here's my guide to repairing the Raiders for this year and beyond.
Quarterback position: Pryor is nothing but a playground quarterback. He relies on his legs and scrambling to the right. He's too predictable even as a playground quarterback which is sad. Pryor needs to be moved to the WR/TE position. If he refuses to switch positions then cut his ass, I am sorry for being harsh but Pryor has no room to debate why he should stay at the QB position. The quarterback position requires consistent accuracy and being able to read defenses and go through your progressions. Pryor struggles with everything except for running around and making plays with his legs. Running quarterbacks don't last a full 16 game season. Michael Vick can concur!
Matt McGloin, the undrafted rookie out of Penn State had a decent inconsistent season as he was the Raiders starter in the middle of last season. McGloin needs to work on being a better decision maker and learn how to throw the ball away. Too many games this past season McGloin costs the Raiders victories and points with bad decision making. He has the talent to be a decent NFL player. If he can correct his mistakes he could compete to be a starter in the NFL.
Future QB solution: The Raiders don't have a franchise quarterback on their roster at this point. Do the Raiders draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft? If you look at the quarterback options in this year's NFL Draft, I don't see a franchise quarterback in the first round. Some may argue and say Johnny Manziel would look great in the silver and black. But let's be real, Johnny makes more plays outside of the pocket than standing within the pocket. We all know most smart running quarterbacks don't play a full 16 game season by not knowing how to slide properly or running out of bounds. I don't believe Manziel's body can withstand NFL punishment for a full season.
I am not sold on UCF's Blake Bortles, who scares me because this past season was his best college season. I am not too keen on one year star players. Bortles thrives in the zone read option system which the Raiders don't run.
I think the Raiders need to sign a veteran like Michael Vick for a one year deal and draft Clemson's Taj Boyd, Fresno State's Derek Carr, or San Jose's David Fales. All three quarterbacks are solid options. The Raiders could trade of the No. 5 position to acquire more draft picks and still get the quarterback they want in the later rounds. I know fans are gonna say Vick won't play a full season either, but listen Vick is hungry now, he knows his time in the NFL is dwindling, I bet you Vick will come into camp and play his butt of might finally stay healthy for a full season. If not Taj Boyd or whoever else should be ready to start by week 8 or 9 whenever Vick gets hurt. It is a sad thing to say about Vick, but the truth speaks itself.
Running back position: The Raiders need to hurry up and cut Darren McFragile, I mean Darren McFadden, sorry bout that folks, lol! I don't need to spend a lot of time talking bad about McFadden, the tape and truth speaks for itself. McFadden can't stay healthy and the Raiders are wasting time keeping him on the roster. We all know general manager Reggie McKenzie wants hard working football players that can stay healthy on his team. McFadden has shown that he is good for half a season. The NFL is a 16 game season. Sorry McFadden time to move to on from you. We have heard enough nagging excuses.
Rashard Jennings overachieved big time this year for the Raiders. I did not expect to see him produce the way he did. The Raiders need to bring him back to a reasonable 2-3 year deal. I am curious to see how our late round draft pick from last year's draft Latavius Murray bounces back from injury that kept him from being activated this past season. Murray is a big back. The Raiders need a change of pace back. Look for the Raiders to maybe sign a free agent veteran or spend a late round draft pick on a running back.
Wide receiver/tight end position: The Raiders have a young talented but inconsistent group of wide receivers. Some one from this group needs to grow up and have a Pro Bowl year. But who is gonna play like a Pro Bowler or is this type of player on the roster? The answer is hell no! Streater is probably the best receiver out the group, but is inconsistent and has trouble separating from corner-backs. Denarius "Hands Usual Suspect" Moore is nothing but a slot receiver at best. His hands are so suspect. Holmes came on late last season, he needs to carry his late season momentum into training camp and ball out. Criner, Butler, and Ford are all roster space eaters at best. Ford needs to go and needs to focus on making track his career. Criner is so inconsistent and you have to question his work ethic. Butler is still learning how to play in the NFL. He needs to work hard on running routes.
I like how rookie tight end Mychael Riveria played this season. He was a pleasant surprise. He is a big body kid who has deceiving speed but had his share of flaws and disappeared in too many games this past season. The Raiders need to make a run a TE Greg Olson who is second best TE on the free agent market after Jimmy Graham and we all know the Saints are gonna franchise Graham. Other TE free agent options for the Raiders are Fred Davis, Scott Chandler, Brandon Pettigrew and etc..
Future WR solution: The Raiders don't have a No. 1 wide receiver on their team. The Raiders are drafting at the No. 5 position and could select Clemson's WR Sammy Watkins. Watkins would be the team's best and No. 1 receiver. Watkins possess NFL talent and is a game changer something the Raiders have been lacking at the receiving position for years. The only free agent WR's the Raiders should be looking at are Eric Decker who has good size and great hands and Jeremy Maclin if he is fully healthy and should be ready for training camp. The Raiders need to stay clear from Hakeem "Always Be Trippin" Nicks. Too many work ethic questions surrounding Nicks.
Offensive Line Position: First priority for the Raiders this off-season is to resign left tackle Jared Veldheer. Veldheer is the Raiders best offensive lineman and wants to stay in Oakland be part of the rebuilding project. Veldheer is strong at the point of attack and rarely gets beat, plus Veldheer is young at the age 26 years old. The Raiders need to resign RT Tony Pashos as depth as he was solid and release Khalif Barnes who still remains a serious weak link on the Raiders offensive line.
The Raiders need major help at both guards positions. Lucas Nix was horrible and constantly got beat. The Raiders need to replace Mike Brisiel who is aging as we speak and needs to retire. The Raiders would benefit by adding stud free agent C Alex Mack and move Steve Wisneiwski to his natural guard position.
Future OL solution: The Raiders should focus on signing free agent G Jon Asamoah who excels at run blocking and is a solid pass blocker. I wouldn't mind if the Raiders sign Richie Icognito. Say what you want about his off the field issues, dude straight plays with a nasty mean streak on the field and is a mauler. We need someone to get in other linemen's faces when they are getting pushed back or having mental false starts relapses. Zane Beadles would also be a solid upgrade over what we have. Tackles Zach Strief and Brandon Albert would be great solutions at the RT positions. The Raiders haven't had a good RT in years. I know we have Menelik Watson, but Watson needs to be fully health for camp and their is nothing wrong with too many good tackles on the roster, especially since we don't have quality depth. This year's draft has a lot of good quality young guards and tackles if we decide not to sign any free agent lineman.
Defensive line position: Let me keep it real and say our defensive line has the worst depth in the NFL and is considered to many analysts and fans as the worst ever. Some fans want to blame McKenzie for failing to address the offensive line, but he can't fix everything given his situation with the salary cap. I am torn on resigning Lamarr Houston. Houston plays with a high motor, but his production doesn't match a big contract he wants. Its not hard being the Raiders best defensive lineman. I say resign him but to a reasonable deal, nothing crazy, he definitely doesn't deserve one of those past Al Davis fat-boy contracts. We definitely need another starting end to replace Jason Hunter. I am not going to even waste any words on him. Our defensive tackles are solid not great, but we could use an upgrade over Vance Walker. Pat Sims had a great year for us, looks like a keeper and deserves a long term deal.
DL future solution: Ends, quality ends, superstar end and etc.. If we decide to bring back Houston he needs a partner to wreak havoc. If the Raiders stand pat at the No. 5 position in the draft we should select Clowney as our pick. Clowney has all the potential and talent to be a beast in the NFL. I haven't seen a DE explode off the ball like he does. Drafting Clowney should allow Houston the opportunity to get more sacks.
Free agents the Raiders should look at signing: Michael Johnson is a good solution, the problem with Johnson is he is inconsistent and there should be no excuse we he didn't dominate this past season with all the other talent the Bengals have on the defensive line. Greg Hardy is the no duh free agent to sign, but its likely the Panthers will franchise him. But seriously the Raiders need to throw a boat load of cash at Michael Bennett. Bennett is a quiet superstar in the making, he has balled out quietly the last few years in Tampa and is having a heck of the year in Seattle. Jared Allen would be a great option as well, as long as the Raiders don't break the bank on him. Giants DT Linval Joseph would be great addition to the Raiders defensive line. Joeseph excels at stopping the run and can also rush the QB.
LB position: Nick Roach had an up and down year as the Raiders starting middle linebacker. Roach is great in coverage and rushing the QB but he struggles against the run and getting off blocks. The Raiders need a MLB that is strong and instinctive. Outside linebacker Kevin Burnett was solid but repeatedly got burned by the screen week in and week out. Burnett struggles with coverage. Rookie OLB Moore was solid, but needs to get bigger and needs to quit thinking to much and just make plays.
LB future solution: If the Raiders decide to address the MLB position in free agency, they should take a look at Wesley Woodyard, Brandon Spikes, Donald Butler or Karlos Dansby. Woodyard is decent and is the fastest of the group. Spikes is instinctive. Butler, the Chargers will probably franchise him, and Dansby had a great year and showed age is just a number. A couple MLB's the Raiders should look at in rounds 2-4 of the NFL Draft are Standford's Shayne Skov who is a tough run defender and FSU's Christian Jones who is fast and athletic. Anyone of the players above I mention would help the Raiders line backing corps tremendously and could move Roach back to OLB which fits him best.
CB/S position: On paper Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins look like a solid corner-back tandem. But in reality they are one of the worst starting CB tandems in the NFL. Jenkins must think the NFL is two hand touch. He is not physical at all and neither is Tracy Porter, who is loves playing that Ray Buchanan coverage, 15 yards off the line cause he is scared he is gonna get burnt. Rookie D.J. Hayden struggled, but it is too early to call him a bust. Hayden needs a full strong off-season to get back in football shape due to his health issue that kept him out of football for awhile. I knew he was going to struggle because he hasn't played football in a long time.
Charles Woodson had a solid old man season. Heck 97 tackles is Charles like! But what was missing was not enough Charles Woodson like plays. It seemed like Woodson was playing the entire 2013 season not to get hurt and wanted to prove to everyone he could play an injury free season at his age. Usama Young was decent when he wasn't hurt and added quality depth. But what really hurt this group was losing SS Tyvon Branch early in the season and was eventually place on injure reserve. Branch is one of the NFL's best young SS and is a tackling machine. When Branch went down so did the SS position, his replacement Brandian Ross was putrid. Ross needs to get cut ASAP.
Future CB/S solution: The Raiders should cut Jenkins and bring back Porter only to play him in the nickel or dime package. There are a lot of good corners on the free agent market. The Raiders need to try to sign one or two of these corners, Brent Grimes, Alterraun Verner, Captain Munnerlyn, DRC or Aquib Talib.
As far as the S position goes, the Raiders need a young veteran stud like Bills S Jarius Byrd. He's gonna command a lot of money but this team has it to spend. A tandem of Byrd and Branch would be good for the next few years. T.J. Ward or Antoine Bethea are also good options as well. Bethea is one of the most durable safeties in the NFL and is a good tackler. Ward finally stayed healthy for a full season and had a career year.
Fans be patient, I have read many so-called true Raider's fans comments, blogs and articles. But Raider Nation, let's be real, we all knew this was going to be a 2-4 year rebuilding project. I predicted on The Truth By Two Sports Fans podcast season preview show that the Raiders were gonna be 4-12 this season. I knew this past season's team was going to struggle. General manager Reggie McKenzie did the best he could this past season with a limited salary cap. Already many Raider's fans are saying McKenzie's draft picks have failed. Come on, it's one year. CB D.J. Hayden struggled mainly cause he has been out of football for so long due to his past health condition. Raiders fans relax, let's see how he performs this year and next.