Photo credit: Peter G. Aiken / Getty Images Sport
Author: Michael Gelb
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The Oakland Raiders hired Jon Gruden to become their head coach for the second time this offseason. After Oakland’s playoff season in 2016, they regressed to a team that looked like the Raiders from the late 2000’s. Derek Carr came back from a broken leg and did not look the same. He was the heart and soul of this team, but his inconsistent play, poor throws and inability to win games down the stretch was the real difference in 2017. As a result of that Jack Del Rio was out the door and in came Gruden. Many people around the league were very excited to see Gruden come back to coaching even though he was always a character on Monday Night Football. It looked like the Raiders were going to turn things around and continue to be playoff contenders in the AFC West, but Gruden and the front office had seemed to be riding the old wave when it came to adding players this offseason. They added players like WR Jordy Nelson, RB Doug Martin, CB Leon Hall and some other “veterans”, but this team did not get any younger. In a league where injuries are very common and players do not stay in their prime very long, why are the raiders banking on the older guys instead of young ones with higher potentials? They entered the offseason with 4 players 29+ years old. Right now they have 13 players that are 29+ years old. The future is going to be in question in Oakland for a while and their draft class doesn’t seem to answer many of those questions. For some reason, Oakland had two draft boards, Gruden’s and Reggie McKenzie’s (General Manager) and they had to piece together who they were going to pick and try to match players based off different grades instead of a consensus. They took a project Left Tackle with Kolton Miller in the first round and took huge risks drafting Defensive lineman Arden Key and Maurist Hurst in the later rounds. It is going to be interesting to see how Gruden runs the show this year, but it looks like he’s got some work to do in the future.
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