What is the Raiders' biggest concern?

The Athletic’s Tashan Reed weighed in on the team’s biggest concern heading into the season.
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

No NFL roster is perfect, especially at this point in the year. With 90 guys currently on the practice field, almost half of them will be traded or released before the season begins. This is a time when many players are getting a chance to prove themselves or battle for starting positions and roster spots, not a time to have it all figured out.

However, some teams are in better positions than others, and within the Raiders organization, some position groups have it figured out more than others. The defensive line and wide receiver rooms both project to be among the best in the league, whereas the offensive line has a few spots to fill.

Tashan Reed of The Athletic pointed out his biggest area of concern with the Las Vegas Raiders at this point in the offseason, and surprisingly, it does not have to do with the quarterback room:

"The Raiders have two starters set with outside corner  and nickelback  locked in as starters. The second outside cornerback spot, however, is up in the air. As it stands, it’s a three-way competition between ,  and . Facyson and Bennett both struggled with their health and performance last season and Richardson is a raw rookie, so it’s easy to understand the concern. Rather than sign a one-year stopgap, the Raiders hope the coaching staff can develop someone already on the roster into a competent starter. If that bet doesn’t pay off, the Raiders will have a significant weakness on a defense that otherwise looks to be in great shape.""

Tashan Reed

Reed raises some excellent points, and it is something that many Raider fans have been thinking about all offseason. Obviously, as he pointed out, the team addressed this concern in the later rounds of the draft with Mississippi State’s Decamerion Richardson and Pittsburgh’s M.J. Devonshire, but no real significant signings have been made otherwise. Many wanted the Raiders to draft a corner with their first-round pick, especially if Terrion Arnold was still on the board, but Brock Bowers sliding back made it impossible not to take the best player available.

Amik Robertson left in free agency this offseason, which hurt, but with him off the team, Nate Hobbs can slide back to where he is most comfortable in the slot. Now, we have two rookies competing with second-year player Jakorian Bennett and veteran Brandon Facyson for that third starting corner spot. Facyson has had some good moments with the Silver and Black, as well as some questionable ones.

He brings the most experience, but Bennett will likely challenge him for the last starting spot after what appears to be another strong offseason. Bennett and Facyson were splitting reps with the first team in OTAs. Bennett started off strong last season before taking a huge step back, as many rookies do, so the hope is that he continues to grow into a starting cornerback in the NFL. 

Obviously, there are a handful of good free agent cornerbacks who are still on the market, and given the cap space that the team currently has, I could see them leaning this way if nothing materializes from the current room. Familiar names to defensive coordinator Patrick Graham include former Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard and Giants cornerback Adoree Jackson, but other veterans like Stephon Gilmore are also still available. As Tashan Reed pointed out, you hope that the team does not need to sign such a player to what will likely be a one-year contract.

However, the cornerback room is already thin and a bit unproven, and Hobbs has never played every game of an NFL season. An injury to this room in its current state would be catastrophic, so ideally, as the offseason continues, the Raiders players develop at a fast rate. If not, a band-aid signing of a veteran is likely the best option so that an elite defense like Las Vegas does not have a major hole in it.