Oakland Raiders: JBB Reader Mailbag


Before the Oakland Raiders take on the Denver Broncos (Or Donkeys, if you prefer) Just Blog Baby Editor-In-Chief Chase Ruttig opened up the mailbag for the loyal JBB readers to ask questions about the struggles in Oakland, the 2015 Draft, Derek Carr’s performance, and anything else you can think of. These are Chase’s responses to those reader questions in the return of the JBB Mailbag.

This is a very popular question and one that is hard to answer, however if you put a gun to my head these are the positions I would go in the first three rounds as well as some players who would fit those positions. (Working under the assumption the Raiders stay in the Top 3, because let’s be honest, they are going to) (Best pick available in these scenarios)

Round One: Pass rusher. (Leonard Williams, USC. Randy Gregory, Nebraska)

Round Two: Wide receiver. (DeVante Parker, Louisville. Ty Montgomery, Stanford. Devin Fuchness, Michigan. Tyler Lockett, Kansas St.)

Round Three: Running back (Duke Johnson, Miami. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska.

BONUS: Middle Linebacker (Denzel Perryman, Miami. Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State.)

A million dollar question here for the Raiders, but one that I don’t think is a concern until the next Raiders head coach falters. With Mark Davis trying to secure a proven head coach with winning experience, I doubt the problems of the Al Davis regime will cloud Derek Carr after this rookie season where he is handling going 0-8 quite well.

You have to think that Derek Carr being in Oakland will lessen the value of a team trying to trade up to get a quarterback as the Raiders would really have to convince a general manager that they would take Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston in order to get a RGIII type of deal their way. I personally prefer the Raiders staying in the Top 3 of the draft unless given a Godfather deal so this scenario doesn’t cause me to lose sleep at night as the prospect of trading down does not appeal to me as it does to some.

Khalil Mack and Sio Moore are both great outside linebackers, but it is a bit concerning when Charles Woodson is your third best defensive player most weeks. It is far too early to say they will be elite, but with high draft picks this spring, anything is possible if the rebuild in Oakland goes well through the draft and they bring in the right free agents.

Last free agency period the Raiders did show reported interest in a handful of big names, but those big names went elsewhere. Desean Jackson going to Washington was the one that stung the most for the Raiders, and if a few players hit the market rather than getting franchise tagged you can expect that Oakland will once again be in that mix for those players because they will have the cap space. The problem isn’t the front office not trying to get big name players, the problem is those big name players wanting far more than market value to come to Oakland which is something that has never worked out for the Raiders.

This is a hard question to answer without seeing who slips through the cracks when it comes to franchise tags. If Suh or Greg Hardy hit the market those two would likely be up there, but wideouts Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin may be two players to watch come the spring if either hit the open market as a proven big play receiver to pair with Carr will be high on the Raiders wish list.

Because Latavius Murray isn’t very good.

Dowling is a late round pick from a small school that the Raiders likely want to lock in the weight/film rooms before getting him onto a NFL field. Hard to blame them for keeping the Western Kentucky product off the field, and although most know I think Brandian Ross is awful, he hasn’t been nearly as embarrassing to put onto the field as he was in 2013.

Answered this question a bit earlier and it was something you can go back to 2014’s Draft to get my views on trading down. If you can’t stay inside of the Top 5 it just isn’t worth it for the Raiders. If they can get a guy like Williams or Gregory or any other of the projected high end picks while trading down, that is fine. However we learned how valuable staying in the Top 5 can be last year when Khalil Mack landed to the Raiders, they should keep that in mind when they get calls about trading down come Draft Day.

Good question and one that is hard to answer based on the fact that Tuck could either retire or ask for the Raiders to cut him for little dead money so he can walk. If Tuck wants to be back in Oakland next year there isn’t that much of a downside other than his cap hit, but to have a two time Super Bowl champion in the locker room who can still get to the passer when he wants to isn’t that much of a bad thing. Especially considering LaMarr Woodley will more than likely be gone, assuming that Woodley is the one that will go you may be able to expect a second season in Oakland for Justin Tuck.

Best for last. Here is case for Reggie:

Drafts Well: You can dislike the DJ Hayden pick, or even the Menelik Watson one in 2013, but it is hard to dispute that RM hasn’t brought in cornerstone pieces to rebuild this team. You build through the draft, not free agency and McKenzie has shown that early in the draft or late in the draft (especially late in the draft in his case) that he will find talented players that are the future of this team. Guys like Sio Moore, Justin Ellis, TJ Carrie, Gabe Jackson, etc. are all players that show McKenzie’s worth as a general manager who can find guys beyond the top rounds that can go out and becoming blue chip prospects. If you are Mark Davis, you want McKenzie to finish his 2015 Draft process over bringing in a guy in January or February with a late start.

Free Agency not RM’s Fault: You can’t bring in free agents if they don’t want to come to Oakland and thanks to some of Al Davis’ willingness to overpay guys to come to Oakland as well as the decades worth of losing along with constant turnover with coaching staffs there is still some backlash when it comes to agents convincing their clients to take RM’s offers without an overpay. To McKenzie’s credit he has opted to not bankroll the Raiders rebuild on risky deals to gamble their future cap space until the core of the team has been built through the draft. Some of the FA’s RM brought in this year have actually been playing well (Penn, James Jones) while the ones that haven’t or won’t pan out (MJD, Woodley) can be cut for little to no dead cap. I feel Mark Davis knows the situation that is going on well enough to understand that.

Contract: McKenzie has time left on his contract as general manager beyond next season and Mark Davis gave him public support after Dennis Allen was fired when it came to his job status. Being brought in to rebuild the franchise, Davis has been told by McKenzie and his advisers that there will be growing pains. Nobody knows if Mark Davis will make a panic move, but based on the fact that RM has plenty left on his contract as well as being involved in the head coaching search I think there is a good chance he will be around in 2015.