Image Credit: (Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
With Training Camp about to start for the NFL in a few weeks, there are questions that follow each team. Like I did with the Patriots, I will be doing the Top 5 Biggest questions for every team heading into Training Camp. Next up is the Las Vegas Raiders who did not have a 1st round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, due to the Davante Adams trade. But there are still questions that remain with this team.
1. What type of Josh McDaniels will the Raiders get at head coach?
With Jon Gruden’s fall from grace last season and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia coaching the team to the playoffs, the Raiders had to figure out who their new head coach was going to be. The coach they hired is Josh McDaniels. Well, many know my thoughts on what I think of the McDaniels. But I can’t deny how good of an offensive coordinator he was with New England. I wonder with his next chance as the head coach of the Raiders if he learned his lesson and will avoid all the controversial things he did as the Broncos head coach. If he has then the Raiders should have a deep playoff run, but if he has not learned, then the Raiders will be held back from poor coaching.
2. Who will be the number 3 receiver on the team?
I think it is safe to say that Davante Adams will be the number 1 receiver and Hunter Renfrow will be the number 2 receiver. But besides those two, it is unclear who will be the number 3 receiver on the team. The Raiders do have options mainly due to the other receivers they signed in free agency. First up is Keelan Cole who last year spent time with the New York Jets. Like I said in the New York Jets summary article, he showed flash being a solid receiver on the team but lacked consistency. Mack Hollins has mainly been mediocre in the NFL but is a proven leader as he was named a captain for the Dolphins. Demarcus Robinson, I can say the same thing I did with Keelan Cole, but replace the Jets with Kansas City Chiefs. Maybe a change of scenery could help him out with more snaps. This is a positional battle to watch and whoever wins will get an opportunity to be a part of a great offense on paper.
3. Will Josh Jacobs be the starting running back in both the short and long term?
I think it is telling that the Raiders will not pick up Jacobs 5th year option. I am not so sure that the Raiders are confident about having Josh Jacobs on this team long-term, that is for sure. It got me thinking about the short term because the signs are there that the Raiders may not use Jacobs as much as Gruden and Bisaccia did. I mean Kenyan Drake when healthy is a solid running back. Branden Bolden was signed in free agency because it's the cliche copycat Patriots move that former executives make when they are hired in prominent roles. While he did not do much in New England, it would not shock me if he was used more in Las Vegas. Finally, they drafted both Zamir White and Brittan Brown in the 2022 NFL Draft and maybe they can develop. Ameer Abdullah is terrible and I am shocked he is still in the league. I may be overreacting to the short term, but it is looking likely that Josh Jacobs will not be a Raider long term. I can also say I am not confident in saying he will be the starting running back.
4. Will Alex Leatherwood improve for next season?
The Raiders last offseason made a strange decision to overhaul their offensive line. With the o-line being a need they drafted Alex Leatherwood 17th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was expected to be a great replacement, however, he was not great last year and was one of the weak points for the Las Vegas Raiders last season. In fact, according to PFF.com Leatherwood was the second-lowest-graded starting guard in the NFL. He was a tremendous liability, however maybe with another year of development in the NFL Leatherwood would actually improve. After all, some prospects may be late bloomers and with last season being a dark one for the Raiders, maybe a coach lasting a season would help benefit him.
5. How will the Raiders utilize Clelin Ferell in this defense?
To be honest, it was hard for me to ask a question regarding the Las Vegas Raiders defense. But then I realized that Clelin Ferell was still a part of this team. He has not worked out as a 4th Overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. With the Raiders bringing in Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby emerging as an excellent pass rusher, I wonder if he will be utilized if at all. Maybe he can play defensive tackle, but that position is crowded right now. Would it shock me if the Raiders part ways with Ferrell? No, it would not. He has a cap hit of 9.9 million dollars and is in the last year of his contract. Ferrell could be a name that pops up on the final cut list at the end of the pre-season.