The Silver and Black have enjoyed only one winning campaign since 2003. So how can the Oakland Raiders make a surprising Super Bowl appearance this season?
It’s somewhat fitting that Silver and Black will be making that move to Las Vegas. Over these last two offseasons, you could make the case that the Oakland Raiders have rolled the dice in bringing back head coach Jon Gruden and hiring NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock to be the team’s general manager.
Once again, it’s been a busy few months as the club brought in a slew of veteran newcomers via free agency and trade. Thanks to deals made last summer and in late October, the organization has three first-round draft choices at their disposal in April and used all of them to add some youth to the roster.
There’s been no Lombardi Trophy for the franchise since 1983 when the team was based in Los Angeles. In 2017, the Philadelphia Eagles rebounded from a last-place finish the previous year to win Super Bowl LII. Can Gruden and his team pull off a similar turnaround? Here’s a few reasons explaining how the Raiders can pull this off.
5. Replace TE Jared Cook’s production
In his 10th NFL campaign, he came up with his biggest year. Tight end Jared Cook is now a member of the New Orleans Saints. But in his second season with the Oakland Raiders in 2018, he tied for the club lead with a career-best 69 receptions and also set personal highs with 896 receiving yards and six touchdown grabs.
So who will take up the slack for the ‘18 Pro Bowler? Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock used a fourth-round pick on LSU tight end Foster Moreau. The team added Luke Willson in free agency. The incumbents include Darren Waller, who’s making the conversion from wide receiver, and Derek Carrier. That duo combined for only 13 catches and one score this past season.
Of course, via free agency and trades, Oakland added four wideouts this offseason in Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, WR J.J. Nelson and Ryan Grant. So is the tight end about to be de-emphasized in Oakland’s passing game in ‘19? Stay tuned.