Oakland Raiders Position Grades: Pre-Training Camp

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May 8, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders guard Jon Feliciano (68) at rookie minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line

  • Starter: Donald Penn
  • Starter: Gabe Jackson
  • Starter: Rodney Hudson
  • In the Hunt: Jon Feliciano
  • In the Hunt: J’Marcus Webb
  • In the Hunt: Austin Howard
  • In the Hunt: Menelik Watson

Derek Carr’s blind side and the middle appears to be pretty solid. Donald Penn and Gabe Jackson were both top ten graded players at their position by Pro Football Focus in 2014 for the Raiders. Rodney Hudson came to the team through free agency, who was the 2nd ranked overall Center in 2014.

Penn has seen a resurgence back to form in Oakland after a bit of slide in Tampa Bay has established himself as a strong veteran leader of this offensive line. I’m looking for Gabe Jackson to take a huge step forward this year. After a productive rookie season, and a quality offseason, he is primed for a breakout season at the LG position. Rodney Hudson is “a rising star” according to his coaches, and will bring a huge upgrade to the interior blocking for this offensive line.

The right side of the offensive line brings more questions than answers. Feliciano, Webb, Howard, and Watson are all varied in age, but are all contributing to the competition at the remaining offensive line positions. Many reports have come out of Webb having a strong showing so far. Austin Howard is expected to return to his natural position at RT, where he performed quite well for the NY Jets prior to coming to Oakland in Free Agency. Menelik Watson has all the physical tools, but has seemed to lack technique, could this be the season he puts it all together?


Some people might think this is a bit harsh. This is a group that gave up a minimal number of sacks last season, saw an upgrade at one of most crucial positions, and a few other players have been brought in to fuel competition. Aside from the few new faces, this is the same group of players who contributed to one of the worst running games in the league’s history, and while Derek Carr may have only been sacked 22 times, he was under pressure 214 times (7th in the league) of his 635 passing attempts. That’s 1/3 of his pass attempts, he’s under pressure. Taking into consideration how quick Carr got rid of the ball last season, one can only imagine what the sack total would have been if he hadn’t been as savvy.

I think this group has potential to perform much higher than this grade, and I expect them to, but on paper, right now, this is how I feel about the offensive line. Of course, chemistry and experience plays a huge factor that can’t be quantified with numbers, or measured up by a previous team. Just look at the Cowboys of the 90s, when that group first got together they were considered to be one of the worst offensive lines in the league, after a little experience, and developing chemistry they became one of the most dominant O-Lines of the era.

Next: Raiders Position Grades: Front Seven