It is certain to be an exciting offseason for the Las Vegas Raiders, as they will go into the 2024 NFL season with Antonio Pierce as their full-time head coach. Pierce took Raider Nation and the NFL by storm in 2023 after being named interim head coach, and will look to keep the cigars lit next season.
For the Raiders to take the next step forward, they are going to need their superstars to perform, and their other players to take their game to the next level. Free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft will go a long way in reshaping this roster, but there are some key guys returning that could breakout in a big way in 2024.
Here, we look at three players who could be entering a breakout season in the Silver and Black.
Raiders: 3 potential breakout candidates in 2024
3. Malcolm Koonce
We start out with Malcolm Koonce, who some feel had his breakout season in 2023 playing alongside Maxx Crosby. Koonce did have a stellar year, which was huge for the Silver and Black, as Tyree Wilson could not get it going as a rookie.
Koonce finished the year with eight sacks, but for a guy with his rare blend of size and speed, that should just be the starting point. If the Raiders can bolster the defensive tackle spot, and Koonce continues to see his playing time rise, he could end up being a double-digit sack guy, and possibly a Pro Bowl player.
2. Michael Mayer
The Raiders traded up for Michael Mayer in the 2023 NFL Draft, and while he had an up-and-down rookie season, you have to like his potential at the position. Mayer was slowed by injuries late in the season, but before that, he was finally starting to find his way in the Raiders offense.
Based on his speed, size, and catching ability, there is no reason why Mayer cannot breakout in a big way next season. If he can do that, this Raiders offense could be downright scary.
1. Tre Tucker
Tom Telesco reiterated at his press conference with Antonio Pierce that the Raiders are going to focus on speed in 2024, and who better to highlight than Tre Tucker. This is a guy with world-class speed, and with Hunter Renfrow likely leaving as a cut candidate, he should see his playing time rise in a big way in Year 2.
Tucker proved as a rookie that he has big-play ability, and I would expect him to be more of a weapon going into his second season. If it is speed that Telesco wants, then he has a ton of it in the former Cincinnati Bearcat, who should be the No. 3 wideout in Las Vegas next season.