Last season: 6-10, 3rd place
Key offseason additions:
HC Jon Gruden, WR Jordy Nelson, WR Martavis Bryant, OT Kolton Miller, LB Tahir Whitehead, CB Rashaan Melvin, RB Doug Martin, WR/PR Ryan Switzer
Key offseason losses:
WR Michael Crabtree, DL Jihad Ward, P Marquette King, LB Navorro Bowman, WR/RS Cordarrelle Patterson
The Oakland Raiders were everyone’s fun pick to win the AFC West last year despite some significant concerns on the defensive side of the ball.
The Raiders’ defensive woes plagued them throughout the season, as did a regression in play from Derek Carr.
The Raiders saw an opportunity with Jon Gruden trying to find a way back into coaching and took it. They gave the former Super Bowl champion head coach a 10-year contract as the team transitions to Las Vegas in the near future, and Gruden came in and demolished the previous roster.
Oakland was as active as just about any team in the free agent and trade market this offseason, taking some calculated risks on players they feel can be an asset in their system.
If the Raiders can find a way to extract the best out of some of the players they brought in on both sides of the ball, they will be one of the most fun teams to watch in the NFL this season.
Their wide receiver group with Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant, and Ryan Switzer has potential to be one of the most versatile in the game.
Combine that with a resurgent Marshawn Lynch and possibly Doug Martin in the running game, and the Raiders could have a very balanced offense this season.
There are still some major question marks on the defensive side of the ball.
Oakland’s pass rush duo of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin should be strengthened by better usage of Irvin as an edge player versus traditional outside linebacker.
Can the Raiders’ secondary find a way to pick off more than four passes in 2018?
If this team can find a way to create turnovers they could be in contention for the division.