Since they lost the Super Bowl to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Oakland Raiders have been the biggest train wreck in the NFL. Their front office has been setting the team back years and years, and last year’s trade to obtain a retired player really sent this team over the edge.
Since 2000, the Raiders have drafted a kicker in the first round, traded their coach, and also traded for a player who was literally retired. It’s remarkable the moves this franchise has made, but fortunately for them, new general manager Reggie McKenzie is bringing over sense and realistic rebuilding methods from the Green Bay Packers, setting up the Raiders as best he can for the future.
Here are the Raiders’ top team needs this offseason, in no particular order.
1. Defensive Tackle
Richard Seymour’s contract was voided, Desmond Bryant is a free agent, and Tommy Kelly is likely to be released due to his high cap number. That leaves the Raiders with Christo Bilukidi at defensive tackle going into the offseason. This is an area of the team that will undoubtedly be addressed, potentially with the #3 overall selection as well. The Raiders need a guy who can occupy blockers like Star Lotulelei, but it also wouldn’t surprise me to see them go after an athletic tackle like Sheldon Richardson. This position will be a high priority in 2013.
**Signed DT Pat Sims (Bengals)**
**Signed DT Vance Walker (Falcons)**
I think Rolando McClain will be shown the door this offseason from Oakland unless he and the team have a drastic change of heart, and starters Philip Wheeler and Omar Gaither are both free agents. Miles Burris turned out to be a great addition last year as a rookie, and I think the Raiders will work hard to bring Wheeler back after he led the team with 109 tackles last season. That still leaves a void at ILB, where I think Oakland could have some issues.
**Signed LB Nick Roach (Bears)**
**Signed LB Kaluka Maiava (Browns)**
**Signed LB Kevin Burnett (Dolphins)**
3. Defensive Back
Michael Huff was forced to move to CB last season after a rash of injuries and poor play caused the Raiders to resort to desperate measures. He did a solid job, but it remains to be seen whether or not the Raiders will keep him at corner or move him back to free safety. There is a lot of talent at CB in free agency and the draft, so the Raiders may be best served moving Huff back to free safety, where Matt Giordano is a free agent and likely to be replaced anyway.
**Re-signed CB Philip Adams**
**Re-signed CB Coye Francies**
4. Pass Rush
The Raiders could lose Matt Shaughnessy and Andre Carter to free agency, and Lamarr Houston was only able to muster up four sacks all of last season. I could see the Raiders taking an elite pass rusher with their first round selection.
5. Tight End
This could be a really huge area of need if the Raiders are unable to bring back free agent Brandon Myers, who led the team in receiving in 2012. There isn’t any depth behind him on the roster, so the Raiders could look to this position anyway.
6. Right Tackle
The Raiders need to upgrade the RT position even if they do bring back Khalif Barnes for one more go-round with the team. Despite throwing the ball almost exclusively last season, the Raiders still managed to allow only 27 sacks all season. That will change if they put Terrelle Pryor in the starting lineup, as he’ll need a strong OL to develop properly.
**Re-signed OT Khalif Barnes**