The Las Vegas Raiders have made some major additions this offseason as they look to take the next step in their development after last season’s playoff appearance. With new head coach Josh McDaniels at the helm along with the trade for star receiver Davante Adams and signing of pass rusher Chandler Jones, the Raiders are one of the most intriguing teams of the upcoming 2022 season.
One area where the Raiders didn’t make a major splash was on the offensive line. Last season the Raiders were in the bottom half of the league in sacks allowed and bottom-5 in rush yards per attempt, but instead of looking to make a big splash, McDaniels and the Raiders have decided to stick with their young players.
McDaniels spoke about this at the recent NFL owner’s meetings, believing that the Raiders’ young offensive linemen have a ton of potential and that it will be up to the coaches to help them reach that:
“I think we have a lot of players there that are not at their ceiling yet,” McDaniels said. “I feel pretty good about the group that we have, and now our job in the short term here is to try to coach them, get them to play better, each group, each man to play better, and that’s what I’ll focus on.”
Offensive line play is so important and it has been proven time and time again that regardless of the weapons you have on offense, if the line isn’t up to par it can sink everything. Furthermore, with the likes of Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Chris Jones, and Bradley Chubb in the division, the Raiders have little room for error.
But McDaniels continued to express his belief in the group the Raiders have, and the coaches’ ability to get the best out of them:
“Again, our job will now be to work like hell to improve the guys we have,” McDaniels said. “The guys we have on the roster right now are competitive, and we’re going to try to coach them and improve them, and that’s our job. If we can’t make the players on our team better, then we got to do something different.”
Kolton Miller and Alex Leatherwood were both first-round picks of the franchise and the group of those two, Andre James, Brandon Parker, and John Simpson are all 26 years of age or younger. The Raiders also brought back swing tackle James Eluemunor and signed Alex Bars from Chicago who is also younger at just 26.
While the Raiders’ group doesn’t have the big names of some other offensive lines, there is clearly potential for greatness there and McDaniels believes he and his coaching staff will be able to bring that out of them.