The Raiders have undergone an almost complete front-office overhaul after the passing of owner Al Davis. Reggie McKenzie was hired away from Green Bay to serve as General Manager, and he tabbed former Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen as head coach. Unfortunately, the Raiders don’t have much of a draft left after Davis and old coach Hue Jackson’s freewheeling, trade-happy ways. Oakland’s first draft pick comes at the end of the third round.
Offensive line: Primarily a power-running team under Jackson, the Raiders are transitioning to zone-blocking methods up front under new offensive playcaller Greg Knapp. Knapp is one of the most run-minded coordinators of the modern era, so improving the front-five play is a must. The Raiders should feel comfortable with left tackle Jared Veldheer, center Stefen Wisniewski, and new right guard Mike Brisiel, but the other two line spots are up for grabs.
Tight end: In Green Bay, McKenzie had Jermichael Finley. Before his Denver stint, Allen saw Jimmy Graham’s potential as an assistant in New Orleans. Knapp had Owen Daniels. A tight end capable of creating mismatches in the passing game essentially runs in the Raiders’ new blood, and the only tight ends on the current roster are blocker Brandon Myers, H-back/fullback type Richard Gordon, 2011 seventh-round pick David Ausberry, and basketball project Andre Hardy.
Quarterback: Inherited from the old regime and approaching age 33, Carson Palmer doesn’t appear to be a strong fit for Knapp’s offensive system, which features mobile quarterbacks capable of making throws on the run. Palmer’s mobility has been shot since he tore multiple knee ligaments in January of 2006. And he’s not getting any younger.
Linebacker: The Raiders might be able to get by with Rolando McClain, Aaron Curry, and Philip Wheeler as starting linebackers, but they have precious little depth. Travis Goethel and converted defensive end Carl Ihenacho are the only other linebackers under contract in Oakland.