29. Oakland Raiders What’s New in 2019: Last year's crop of coordinators remain for another season. Antonio Brown was brought in via a trade for way less than his on-field production suggests. Trent Brown was given a huge pay day to come in and play tackle and LaMarcus Joyner comes in from the Rams to play in the secondary. They've happily invited in some well-known locker room cancers (AB, Ritchie Incgnito, Vontaze Burfict - more on the field with him) from other teams and a draft class of high caliber ‘leaders’ with three low-risk first round selections this year. We’ll see which crop can run the asylum the most effectively. It's a weird way round to do things.  Roster Strengths: Wide Receiver – Antonio Brown alone gives Derek Carr a reason to shake out himself out of the conservative slump he’s found himself in. Tyrell Williams is another big play threat on the outside. There’s room for a threat to develop underneath if those two can be a consistent menace on the perimeters.  Offensive Line (Kind of) – Brown, Jackson and Hudson can give them a pretty good right side of the line if that’s where Brown ends up. Kolton Miller was awful in his first year, but there’s plenty of time for him to improve. Left guard is a vacancy right now. Let’s face it, the line will have to overcome the single worst offensive line coach in the NFL. Defensive Tackle – Maurice Hurst, Johnathan Hankins, PJ Hall and Eddie Vanderdoes returning from an ACL should give them a pretty decent inside rotation. Hurst and Hall could both take next steps. Elsewhere - The secondary is better stocked than it has been in recent seasons, but there’s a reliance on recent draft picks to get it done at corner.  Roster Weaknesses: Tight End – There isn’t a proven tight end on the roster, so they need to find one from within. Gruden has talked up hybrid receiver/TE Darren Waller, but he has 18 catches in four NFL seasons so I’ll believe that when I see it. Edge – The Raiders probably need immediate returns from surprise high pick Clelin Ferrell, because Arden Key was poor in his first season and outside of development pick Maxx Crosby there’s very little else to get excited about. Linebacker – It’s been a tough position for the Raiders to get right. Brandon Marshall is serviceable, but it’s fringe level talent elsewhere around him.  If Vontaze Burfict is starting a lot of games next season, that’s not a sign things are getting better. Breakout Player: PJ Hall – A 3rd round pick last year, who was pretty raw coming out and then had to play too many snaps in his first season. The fact he looked pretty good on that first year workload bodes well for his second full season. How they can win in 2019: An improved roster in 2019, but a dog of schedule to overcome especially early on where they face Broncos, Chiefs, Vikings, Colts, Bears and then the Packers. They really need to ride that storm out so that morale isn't impacted. That means improved performances are going to need to be significant enough to translate that into an improved wins total. Winning early becomes important too, because malcontents in the locker room are known to cause issues when things aren’t going to plan. Those wins can be won on offense with a more aggressive Derek Carr and a consistent running game featuring a rookie feature back who has never been a feature for a full season. He's been at his best when he's had a good offensive line as they did pre-Cable who has never coached a top 10 offensive line in the NFL.  On defense, they need to overcome the same issues as the Giants in that they have a young secondary and an unproven pass-rush.  They face Pat Mahomes twice, Phillip Rivers twice, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson and Andrew Luck in seven games during their schedule this year. The back-end needs to be ready to go and that probably means immediate returns on Trayvon Mullen, their 2nd round selection, starting opposite Gareon Conley who came on himself late last year.  Predicted record 2019: 4-12 - They've got a hell of a job to prevent this from turning into a circus after Hard Knocks is finished. Sadly that could be the most entertaining they get this year as the roster is a little top-heavy to get through that tough schedule and brutal run of away games.
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