Second Wave Of Free Agency: Raiders Work On Their Offense A Bit
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Mayock was blunt when he said this offseason that his defense wasn’t any good — and apparently he meant it, given the fact that the Las Vegas Raiders added six defensive players in the first few days of free agency, all of whom are expected to make an impact. But Saturday the Raiders turned their attention to the offensive side of the ball — signing four players.

To be clear, three of the guys I’m about to mention will be lucky to have roster spots by the time the season opens — but the fourth is the one I’m the most intrigued by.

Eric Kush (OL), terms unknown

I’ll admit I know nothing about Kush’s ability to play football aside from some basic information communicated on Twitter: he played 16 games (7 starts) for the Cleveland Browns last season.

More importantly, Kush was one of my favorite Hard Knocks players of all time. He was on the 2016 season with the Los Angeles Rams and was famous for his personality as well as his love for tank tops:

As far as a roster spot goes, Kush will be competing for one of the backup spots along the offensive line with guys like Denzelle Good, Andre James and others.

Rod Smith (RB/FB), terms unknown

Smith was actually picked up by the Raiders at the end of last season but never got a carry. At 6’3″ and 235 pounds, Smith is the size the Raiders are looking for in a compliment to Josh Jacobs. The 2020 season will be Smith’s sixth in the NFL, however, he has only seen significant playing time in two of his seasons to date. In total he has 101 carries for 364 yards and five touchdowns.

Ultimately, Smith will be lucky to make the 53-man roster and should expect to see more guys brought in to compete with him.

Nick O’Leary (TE), terms unknown

For the folks curious why the team would sign a guy like Jason Witten, the signing of O’Leary seems to make even less sense. In five seasons, O’Leary has played in 59 games (24 starts), recording 53 catches for 668 yards and four touchdowns. Again: another guy who will be lucky to make the roster this season.

Nelson Agholor (WR), terms unknown

That brings us to the most significant signing of the day, former first-round pick Nelson Agholor. If you’ve been tracking with our free agency previews, this was the sleeper I had pegged as a guy to watch with the Raiders. Why?

Despite coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, we’re talking about a guy with first-round pedigree and a history of being able to produce in this league. Between the 2017 and 2018 seasons, he posted 126 receptions and 1,504 receiving yards for the Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, heading into the 2018 season, had Agholor ranked as one of the top-10 deep threats in all of football.

Of course, you can’t talk about Agholor without talking about the drops — because they’re a problem (and the starting point for one of the better viral videos in recent memory). But here’s how I see it…

For starters, I can assure you this is a cheap deal. The draftable wide receivers are among the best ever and Agholor isn’t among the top five wide receivers in free agency — he’s honestly probably fortunate to have a job today. Beyond that, though, this is the perfect type of flyer to take on a guy you aren’t expecting to be anything more than your No. 4 receiver.

He has proven that he can play in this league, and he’s a massive upgrade over the other guys he’ll be competing with (Zay Jones, Keelan Doss, etc.) behind Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow and whoever the Raiders draft. As I said earlier on Twitter, I’d rather have a guy who can get open (which he has proven he can) than a guy who can catch but is never open.