Oakland Raiders secondary ranked No. 31 by Pro Football Focus
By Brad Weiss
The Oakland Raiders defensive backfield made strides in 2018, but it was not enough to nearly finish at the bottom of PFF’s rankings.
The Oakland Raiders won only four games this past season, as they really struggled to play consistent football on both sides of the field. In particular, the defensive backfield was slow to hit their stride in 2018, and while they played better late on, they were torched way too often this season.
Pro Football Focus recently released their final rankings for all 32 teams in terms of their secondaries, and the Raiders came up just short of the cellar. The outlet ranked the Raiders secondary as the 31st-best unit in the league, which is short for saying that they were nearly the worst in the NFL.
In the offseason, Oakland tried to bring in guys to shore up their deficiencies in the secondary, signing guys like Rashaan Melvin, Daryl Worley, Marcus Gilchrist, and Leon Hall to name a few. The added bodies did not help, and you can be sure the team will be looking to revamp the unit in 2019.
Here is what they had to say about the Raiders secondary.
While the overall ranking certainly isn’t pretty for the Raiders, there’s still some reason for hope. Former first-round pick Karl Joseph earned his highest grade as a pro (74.5), while other former first-rounder Gareon Conley looked much improved down the stretch. He finished the season allowing a catch rate of only 54.0% and a passer rating of 72.8.
Sure, the team struggled mightily as a unit this season, as guys like Leon Hall and Reggie Nelson had to play a big role early on. They started to hit their stride late, and have to be happy with where both Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley are as they enter the offseason.
Of all the teams in the NFL, only fellow Bay Area franchise San Francisco finished behind the Raiders according to the website. Richard Sherman was brought in to bolster the unit, but was really the only one who showed up in 2018.
The Chicago Bears finished up as the No. 1 rated defensive backfield according to PFF, followed by the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers rounding out the top-3. The first non-playoff team to appear was the Cincinnati Bengals, who finished up as the No. 7 rated secondary in the NFL.