While the popular storyline each offseason has centered around Derek Carr, this year it must revolve solely around their porous defense.
Every offseason since Jon Gruden arrived back with the Raiders, the popular storyline has centered around quarterback Derek Carr. Each year, experts mock quarterbacks to the Raiders, or every time a quarterback becomes available in free agency, the question is whether or not they should replace Carr.
However, Carr has actually gotten better every season under Gruden and is far from the issue that plagues this franchise heading into 2021. In fact, the Carr storyline needs to be put to rest for at least this offseason, as the conversation needs to center solely around the defensive side of the ball.
From bringing in a new defensive coordinator to utilizing picks to bolster the defense, Las Vegas needs another revamp, though there are some solid young pieces in place.
Raiders need to address all levels of the defense
Unlike the previous two offseasons, the Raiders do not have multiple first-round picks, so they have to make sure they hit it out of the park with their only first-rounder in 2021. Most mocks have them addressing the linebacker position, which makes sense, as a player like Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah could do wonders on this defense.
Last offseason, the Raiders tried to revamp the linebacker room with free agents Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, but only Kwiatkoski did anything of substance. The secondary also needs help, as they have some solid young cornerbacks in Damon Arnette and Trayvon Mullen, and a player with a lot of potential at safety in Johnathan Abram, but they need a lot more talent back there.
Up front, Maliek Collins did not work out, and while Maurice Hurst had a nice season, a defensive tackle could be in the mix in either the first or second round. Las Vegas also struggled to get after the quarterback, and outside of Maxx Crosby, there is no other legitimate pass rush threat on this defense.
Mike Mayock and Gruden need to focus their efforts on improving the defense this offseason, as Carr handed his defense wins multiple times this season, only to see them cough it up late. Had the defense done anything this season, the Raiders likely would have been a playoff team, so get ready for a busy offseason for that side of the ball in 2021.