The next five to six weeks are usually slow months in the NFL news cycle. Players and coaches take this time to relax before the grind of training camp and the regular season kicks in.
But the good organizations continue to find ways to upgrade and improve their teams over the next few weeks. So what should the Raiders try to get done before training camp begins?
In a recent article by Field Yates of ESPN, he named the one last move every team needs to accomplish this offseason. For the Raiders, that was solving their right tackle problem from last year. Here is what Yates had to say about that spot going into the summer:
“I’ve made the case this offseason that right tackle might be the most important spot for each AFC West team because the division is flooded with great pass-rushers, and while each team has a rock-solid player at left tackle, right tackle is a less established group.
For the Raiders specifically, this includes placing 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood somewhere after he played the bulk of his rookie season at right guard. He finished his college career at Alabama as a left tackle and was a projected right tackle on draft night, so perhaps he’ll settle back in there. Other options include Brandon Parker and Jermaine Eluemunor. ”
Leatherwood has taken a majority of the first-team reps at right tackle during OTAs and minicamp, so it appears that is the direction the Raiders are leaning at the moment. But expect Leatherwood, Parker and Eluemunor to all get a chance to win that job during training camp.
But it wouldn’t hurt for the Raiders to explore the veteran tackle market. There are still some quality options in free agency and there might be a few right tackles available via trade over the next two months. They should be exploring every avenue possible to improve their offensive line before the season begins.
If the Raiders can sort out their offensive line by Week 1 and get some solid play from the right side, they’ll be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. But what’s more than likely is that the offensive line is what holds them back from advancing deep into the playoffs.
This is still an incredibly talented team, but the offensive line is a massive question mark. But just how big of a problem might it be this season? That’s still up in the air.