Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (98) is pushed to the turf by Oakland Raiders guard Gabe Jackson (66) in the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Although I generally wait for the end of the column to answer questions, there is one I want to include into this section. @A_NewLookRaider asked: “thoughts on webb/watson right side OL as of now?”
Well Matt, can I call you Matt? Of course I can you have been reading my stuff forever. As you know although many may not, I actually mocked Menelik Watson to the Raiders the year he came out in the draft at the end of the first round. Not only did I get the team right, I darn near got the spot right too.
With that in mind, I am extremely excited to see Watson getting consistent snaps at right tackle. I have always thought he had the basic skills to be an exceptional tackle and it is good to see it pay off. On the flip side, that also means the Raiders choice to sign Howard may not be paying off like we thought it would. In the end, having Watson solidify that spot is what the Raiders need.
This brings me to Webb. I am utterly stunned that he has made this sort of impact at right guard. I personally am a big fan of Feliciano and believe he is the long term solution to the right guard position, but as of now consider me both stunned and secretly impressed that Watson and Webb are holding down the fort. I believe that Watson will continue to get better, the question is Webb. What is most important for the Raiders is that they finally have considerable depth along the entire offensive line.
Say what you will about Howard, this is a guy who started for several years and was a very decent starter. To have him as a swing tackle shows how the Raiders have focused on resurrecting this position group. Best news here? We most likely will see very little of Khalif Barnes on the field!
The rest of this offensive line is also set for serious success. Donald Penn is the old man of the group and is in the final year of his contract. Considering the Raiders position with the salary cap, I would expect them to extend him for a year or two midway through the season as an insurance policy. Beyond that, the upcoming draft is stacked full of left tackles and one of them would make a great round one or two target. Next to Penn is Gabe Jackson. That dude eats. He eats food, he eats space, and defensive lineman. He very well could be the next great Raider guard. Finally, the Raiders replaced Wisniewski with Rodney Hudson a very young all-pro center who now has the responsibility of becoming Derek Carr’s new best friend.
Overall, I firmly believe this position group can be the strength of the Raiders not only this season, but for the next decade, The young talent that this group is based on excites me immensely and with a guy like Mike Tice to whip them into shape, I will confidently say that we as fans will not see the same struggles from this group that we saw last year.
Next: Preseason Primer: Wide Receivers