It’s been a busy offseason for the Oakland Raiders, as the team was active during free agency, and even made some trades during the 2018 NFL Draft. Head Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Reggie McKenzie have overhauled the team’s roster, bringing in a long list of new faces headed into Gruden’s first year back on the sideline.
The team is in the midst of the Offseason Training Program, but the fun has only just begun. Prior to the start of OTAs [Organized Team Activities] next month, let’s break down how the 2018 Raiders were pieced together.
NFL Draft (30)
|G||Vadal Alexander||2016||DE||Arden Key||2018|
|WR||Marcell Ateman||2018||LB||Marquel Lee||2017|
|LB||Shilique Calhoun||2016||S||Shalom Luani||2017|
|QB||Derek Carr||2014||DE||Khalil Mack||2014|
|CB||Gareon Conley||2017||CB||Dexter McDonald||2015|
|QB||Connor Cook||2016||S||Obi Melifonwu||2017|
|WR||Amari Cooper||2015||T||Kolton Miller||2018|
|DE||Mario Edwards Jr.||2015||CB||Nick Nelson||2018|
|DT||Justin Ellis||2014||T||Brandon Parker||2018|
|OL||Jon Feliciano||2015||T||David Sharpe||2017|
|DT||P.J. Hall||2018||P||Johnny Townsend||2018|
|DT||Treyvon Hester||2017||DT||Eddie Vanderdoes||2017|
|DT||Maurice Hurst||2018||LB||Azeem Victor||2018|
|G||Gabe Jackson||2014||T||Jylan Ware||2017|
|S||Karl Joseph||2016||RB||DeAndré Washington||2016|
The Raiders have a young core of players mainly made up of its key contributors. McKenzie hit the jackpot in 2014 with Mack, Carr, and Jackson, and followed that up with the addition of Cooper in 2015. The team has a lot of young talent many are expecting to take the next step in the upcoming year. It’ll also be interesting to see how the rookie class adjusts to the NFL in their first season.
Free Agency (35)
|DL||Tank Carradine||2018||WR||Jordy Nelson||2018|
|TE||Derek Carrier||2018||S||Reggie Nelson||2016|
|TE||Jared Cook||2017||OL||Kelechi Osemele||2016|
|LS||Andrew DePaola||2018||T||Donald Penn||2014|
|T||Breno Giacomini||2018||DB||Shaquille Richardson||2017|
|S||Marcus Gilchrist||2018||LB||Brady Sheldon||2017|
|CB||Senquez Golson||2018||OL||Ian Silberman||2017|
|CB||Leon Hall||2018||FB||Keith Smith||2018|
|WR/RS||Dwayne Harris||2018||TE||Lee Smith||2016|
|S||Erik Harris||2017||DL||Shakir Soto||2017|
|C||Rodney Hudson||2015||C||James Stone||2017|
|LB||Bruce Irvin||2016||K||Giorgio Tavecchio||2015|
|LB||Derrick Johnson||2018||WR||Griff Whalen||2018|
|LB||Emmanuel Lamur||2018||LB||Tahir Whitehead||2018|
|QB||EJ Manuel||2017||LB||Kyle Wilber||2018|
|RB||Doug Martin||2018||CB||Daryl Worley||2018|
|CB||Rashaan Melvin||2018||CB||Shareece Wright||2018|
From 2017 to 2018, this is the group that’s seen the most turnover. Only 10 players from the list of acquired free agents have returned to play under Gruden, with an additional 18 new faces joining the mix. The Silver and Black addressed some key areas of need during free agency this year, bolstering the linebacking corps, as well as the secondary. Many of the Raiders defensive players are young, so Gruden and McKenzie were determined to add some veteran leadership to the defense.
Last season, the Raiders traded for five-time Pro Bowler Marshawn Lynch. In his first season with the Silver and Black, Lynch totaled 891 rushing yards, seven touchdowns, and 151 receiving yards.
During the 2018 NFL Draft, Gruden and McKenzie traded for wide receiver Martavis Bryant, adding yet another dynamic threat to a talented offense. Between Bryant, Nelson, and Cooper, defenses are going to have a hard time deciding who needs the most attention.
The Raiders also traded for wide receiver Ryan Switzer during the 2018 NFL Draft. In his first season with the Dallas Cowboys last year, Switzer established himself as an electrifying return man.
Undrafted Free Agents (22)
|TE||Marcus Baugh||2018||S||Dallin Leavitt||2018|
|WR||Saeed Blacknall||2018||LB||Nicholas Morrow||2017|
|DE||Fadol Brown||2017||C||Alex Officer||2018|
|TE||Pharaoh Brown||2017||K||Eddy Piñeiro||2018|
|TE||Paul Butler||2018||RB||Henry Poggi||2018|
|LB||Jason Cabinda||2018||RB||Jalen Richard||2016|
|LB/DE||James Cowser||2016||WR||Seth Roberts||2014|
|CB||Antonio Hamilton||2016||LS||Drew Scott||2018|
|WR||Keon Hatcher||2017||G||Jordan Simmons||2017|
|WR||Johnny Holton||2016||RB||Chris Warren III||2018|
|G||Denver Kirkland||2016||WR||Isaac Whitney||2017|
Just because you go undrafted doesn’t mean you won’t make an active roster, look at running back Jalen Richard and wide receiver Isaac Whitney. Richard in particular, made a splash right away, and has made a handful of big plays during his tenure with the team thus far. The new crop of UDFAs will have their opportunity to compete for a spot on the roster during OTAs and Training Camp.