Since Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden have been with the Raiders, the team has undergone a massive change. Gruden and Mayock have brought in hard-working players with limited off the field issues, except for the Antonio Brown‘s fiasco. The two have started to completely remake the defense that was in shambles upon their arrival and has added weapons around Derek Carr… or Marcus Mariota?
Make sure to check out all of our in-depth power rankings here.
- Overall – 78.689 (22nd)
- Offense – 78.715 (22nd)
- Defense – 79.665 (19th)
- Coach and Culture – 82.25 (T-12th)
- Home Field Advantage – 78.5, T-22nd (4% Defense, 2% Overall)
Quarterbacks – 76, T-23rd (36% Offense, 27% Overall)
The duo of Carr and Mariota come in ranked for 23rd in the league. Since Carr’s MVP-like season in 2015, he has dropped off in terms of big play ability. Las Vegas added some weapons for Carr during the offseason and have a solid offensive line. Carr is similar to the old-school Alex Smith in the ways that he takes care of the ball and is seemingly just a game manager. He needs to make more of the opportunities down the field instead of checking it down all the time.
Gruden has always been a Mariota fan, so it wasn’t really a surprise when the Raiders brought him in during the offseason. He is similar to Carr in the way that he is seemingly too conservative. In six starts last year, Mariota went 2-4, and completed less than 60% of his passes, while throwing for seven touchdowns compared to two interceptions before being benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill. He is in a prime position to do to Carr what Tannehill did to him if the Raiders struggle early in the season. The two have very similar styles of play, but the Raiders might need a player with a different skillset for Las Vegas to peak.
Nathan Peterman is a bit of a meme in the NFL community but actually showed some strides during the preseason last year. If an injury were to happen with either of the other two quarterbacks on the roster, Peterman offers some playing time that not many other third-stringers have at the position.
Running Backs – 85.5, 11th (4% Offense, 3% Overall)
Josh Jacobs was a monster in his rookie year. The first-round pick had 1,150 rushing yards and seven touchdowns while also adding 20 catches for 166 yards in 13 games. Jacobs is one of the best young backs in the league but needs to get more productive in the receiving game. He is joined by Jalen Richard, who has been the third-down back who gets a lot of the catches in the offense recently, but that could go away given the addition of Lynn Bowden.
Bowden played quarterback, running back, and receiver at Kentucky, and will need to get on the field as he is far too explosive to be sitting on the bench. The Raiders needed more playmakers on the offensive side of the ball and Gruden and Mayock did a great job of adding players who can change a game all on their own. Devontae Booker was also added from Denver during the offseason.
Pass Catchers – 78.5, T-22nd (17% Offense, 8% Overall)
The Raiders thought that they were getting a perennial All-Pro when they traded for Brown last year. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Mayock and Gruden addressed the problem further this year, bringing in a couple of receivers during the draft as well as retaining several veterans. Henry Ruggs III was selected with the 12th pick in the draft and fits well with the organization given his character and speed. However, speed isn’t the only factor in his game though as he is a great route runner and has great hands, unlike former Raider, Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Tyrell Williams had similar production last year with his time with the Chargers in 2018. Williams will likely take a bit of a backseat to Ruggs this year as the number one receiver but will factor in a ton. Hunter Renfrow was great as a rookie last year as he caught 49 passes for 605 yards and four touchdowns. Renfrow is a big part of the short passing game on quick hitters from Carr.
Nelson Agholor was pretty much out of Philadelphia by week four last year and was brought in on the cheap. Agholor could potentially compete with Williams for the number two spot outside of Ruggs. Bryan Edwards was another draft pick this year and could be the main deep threat option outside of Ruggs. Zay Jones was solid last year catching 20 passes for 147 yards but could be on his way out in favor of Marcell Ateman and fan-favorite Keelan Doss.
Darren Waller transformed into one of the best tight ends in the league last year after he struggled the first few years of his career. He caught 90 passes for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns and should continue that type of production this year. Foster Moreau was one of my favorite tight ends last year and was a true red-zone threat as he caught five touchdowns on 21 catches. Jason Witten was brought in to help build the new culture in Las Vegas and probably won’t have as much playing time as many expect.
Offensive Line – 80, 15th (24% Offense, 12% Overall)
The Raiders have one of the better offensive lines in the league. The only weak spot is at left tackle as Kolton Miller hasn’t lived up to his selection spot. Miller is one of the biggest reasons as to why Carr has taken a step back. He doesn’t have the same amount of time in the pocket as he used to. Richie Incognito is back again this year and was actually one of the better guards despite his age. He, Rodney Hudson, and Gabe Jackson make up a great interior offensive line.
Trent Brown was brought over from New England on a massive contract and while he didn’t live up to that contract, he was solid. Miller needs to take a major step forward this year for the offense as a whole to live up to the hype. Brandon Parker was a third-round selection in 2018 and hasn’t gotten much playing time due to the addition of Brown. Eric Kush has a ton of starting experience and will be a great backup to both Incognito and Jackson. John Simpson was a fourth-round pick from Clemson who could potentially take over for Incognito when he retires.
Run Defense – 84, 9th (6% Defense, 2% Overall)
Las Vegas ranked sixth in run defense last year and decided to beef up the interior of the defensive line even more by adding Maliek Collins. Johnathan Hankins is the main run stuffer, and Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby, and Carl Nassib are all solid run defenders on the edge. Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall also are solid against the run but are more tuned for passing downs instead. Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski were both added during the offseason to fix the linebacker position but neither are top-notch run defenders as they have similar skillsets and mainly focus on technique and football IQ than their physical abilities.
Pass Rush – 80.5, 21st (21% Defense, 10% Overall)
Crosby actually outperformed Ferrell last year and was drafted several rounds later. He had 10 sacks last year in a surprising rookie season. The only downside to Crosby’s production was most of it came against horrible offensive lines. Ferrell only had 4.5 sacks last year after being selected with the fourth overall pick. He has reportedly added weight and could move to the interior instead of playing on the edge. Nassib has had 12.5 sacks over the last two years for Tampa Bay and will be the third pass rusher. Arden Key is the odd man out after he couldn’t put it all together in a season where the Raiders needed pass rush help.
Linebackers – 83, 9th (15% Defense, 4% Overall)
Littleton and Kwiatkoski were great additions to a linebacking core that needed it desperately. Littleton is in the hybrid role where he can play safety or linebacker. Kwiatkoski is a great all-around linebacker as he doesn’t really have any flaws in his game. The Raiders use three linebackers more than most teams in the league and there could be a battle between Marquel Lee and Nicholas Morrow for that spot, or even Tanner Muse, who played safety in college.
Secondary – 77.5, 25th (26% Defense, 17% Overall)
Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette are the future starters on the outside for the Raiders. Both are similar as they aren’t exceptional athletes, but are hard workers and fit their scheme. For the time being though, Prince Amukamara will likely start opposite of Mullen for the early part of the season. Lamarcus Joyner is the slot corner and turned it around later in the season after making the switch from safety. Amik Robertson is only 5’8″ but is exceptionally talented and could potentially play on the outside if needed, while also being able to play in the slot. Nevin Lawson is a similar type of player to Joyner in the slot but won’t get much playing time.
Johnathan Abram needs to take a step forward this year and needs to do so playing free safety instead of nickel cornerback like many expected. Former Packer, Damarious Randall is now in the back of the secondary and will likely line up opposite of Abram in most base formations. Jeff Heath was brought in from Dallas and might not find a lot of playing time this year. The secondary has a lot of pieces but it’s kind of a mishmash of bodies at this point. There is no star in the secondary and some players are playing at spots that they aren’t used to playing.
Coach and Culture – 82.25, T-12th (19% Offense, 28% Defense, 15% Overall)
Gruden is great at scheming players and making the best out of them. The quarterback position is a big question mark still between Carr and Mariota. The offense is solid but has a lot of new unproven faces besides the five starters. Las Vegas comes in ranked 20th in offensive coach and culture.
Las Vegas ranked 24th in total defense last year and have added pieces at all three levels. While there is no true superstar and the scheme being used doesn’t really match some of the skillsets on the defense, I expect Gruden and Paul Guenther to make the most of their coaching experience. The Raiders rank 19th in coach and culture.
The Raiders are in a difficult spot. They are making the move to Las Vegas this year and will be playing in front of a new fanbase. The offense has a ton of superstars but could also be in trouble as the quarterback position is in flux. The defense has endured a major transformation in recent years and Las Vegas added two of the best linebackers on the open market in Kwiatkoski and Littleton.
The secondary needs a lot of work still and a lot of development. This year can be surprising for the Raiders if all works out well on defense and Carr outperforms expectations, but those expectations could also be lowered as well given the lack of experience and cohesion the defense has with one another. It will be interesting to see how the Raiders perform this year.
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