Las Vegas Raiders: Biggest questions heading into 2021 training camp
Will the new-look offensive line come together?
In a recent post on ESPN.com, NFL analyst bill Barnwell gave the Raiders the worst offseason grade in the league. One of the reasons he did so, was because of the Raiders overhaul of their offensive line.
Barnwell called the unit one of the best in the league and he did not understand why the Raiders chose to make so many changes.
Without getting into all of the details around the salary cap and the reason that Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson asked out, the reality is that the Raiders will have three new starters on the offensive line in 2021. Hudson is out as well as Week 1 starters Trent Brown and Gabe Jackson and in their places come some combination of Nick Martin, Andre James, Denzelle Good, and Alex Leatherwood.
The Raiders prioritized building the offensive line in recent years and gave out some hefty contracts to make the unit the strength of the team. Injuries and COVID-19 issues forced the Raiders to shuffle the deck on many occasions in 2020 and they appear to have chosen to go younger and cheaper across the board.
This sounds good in theory, but they will be hoping that the reduction in salary does not lead to a reduction in performance.
Players like Andre James will be playing regularly for the first time in their careers and recent first-round selection Alex Leatherwood will have to get up to speed very quickly. What the Raiders have going for them is offensive line coach Tom Cable’s recent track record of developing young players and they will be leaning on him to help this unit come together.
This unit will be a wild card but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic as well, most notable the presence of Kolton Miller and the solid play of Good last year.