No team has more money to throw around in 2014 NFL free agency than the Oakland Raiders. Here are some quality targets they can pursue.
There’s no getting around facts. The Raiders offensive line was among the worst in the league in 2013. From the tackles to the guards it was bad. Improvements must be made straight away, no matter where they start. Zane Beadles proved an excellent fixture for the Denver Broncos at guard during their Super Bowl run. He hasn’t missed a single game since being drafted by the team. His steady presence would be most welcome for Oakland, especially if it comes at the expense for a division rival.
Brian De La Puente
Stefen Wisniewski rated out among the worst centers in the league last season and he’s clearly either going to be shifted elsewhere or removed entirely. That opens up yet another interior position. One name that could lend a huge hand is Brian De La Puente. The New Orleans Saints center is steady, dependable and excels in pass protection. Given what the Saints are doing just to keep Jimmy Graham, it stands to reason they may not have the money to keep De La Puente.
Controlling the line of scrimmage was a problem all years for the Oakland Raiders defense and it often resulted in humiliating instance like giving up seven touchdown passes to Nick Foles or over 50 points in a single game. They need more disruption up front. Defensive tackle Henry Melton could be out in Chicago. The former Pro Bowler is in his prime and does his best work rushing the passer.
Speaking of stealing from division rivals, the Raiders could hamper the Broncos in another way by swiping wide receiver Eric Decker. Oakland has a glaring need for more dependable pass target and Decker, while not elite is a proven producer at 6’3″ and in his prime. All the Raiders would then have to do is provide another quality talent to the mix and they could have the makings of a real passing attack.
Last but not least, the second culprit for the woeful defensive efforts in Oakland was the cornerback position. D.J. Hayden did not live up to his first round billing, but he also didn’t have much help. Getting a quality corner in 2014 NFL free agency could lend a huge hand. Sam Shields of the Green Bay Packers is often overlooked but has proven among the best at his position expected to become available. His four interceptions and 17 pass deflections in 2013 are proof enough of that.