jon-gruden-raiders.jpg

Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock have had a busy offseason reconstructing the roster and not all of the moves were met with excitement. The offensive line lost key contributors such as Gabe Jackson, Rodney Hudson and Trent Brown so that added to the team's list of needs. They also parted with defensive tackle Maurice Hurst and edge rusher Arden Key after signing Solomon Thomas and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency. The shuffling might add a little more potential to the starting unit but it did not supplement the depth and overall health of the roster. 

The 2021 NFL Draft was an opportunity for the AFC West franchise to bolster its roster. The team accomplished some of its objectives while compromising in other areas. Here are the key takeaways from Las Vegas' draft: 

What Las Vegas got right

The Raiders added a starting-caliber offensive lineman in the form of Alabama's Alex Leatherwood. A college left tackle, Leatherwood has the potential to kick inside to offensive guard. It could be argued that the selection was a reach but the Raiders had a conviction about him. The offense was a big part of the team's success last season so it was imperative that the Raiders retain a strong structure for which Derek Carr can operate behind. 

Andre James and Nick Martin should compete for the center position once held by Hudson. Richie Incognito is the incumbent starter at left guard with Leatherwood and Denzelle Good competing for the roles on the right side of the line. Regardless of how it plays out, Las Vegas should have competent starters. John Brown was signed in free agency and Hunter Renfrow, Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards return at wide receiver. Outside of Edwards, there is not a lot of height at the position. It is a unit that needs to take the next step in its development.

What the Raiders didn't do

There were changes made to the defense but it would be a stretch to say that it has been repaired. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has a lot of questions to find answers for in free agency. 

Will the rotation of edge rushers be enough to rise from No. 29 overall in team sacks? Ngakoue was a costly addition and is now on his fourth team in eight months. Maxx Crosby is more of a relentless pursuant than a twitchy dynamo. Clelin Ferrell has not lived up to his potential. Third-round draft pick Malcolm Koonce is a fit that confuses me. 

The linebacker position was heavily invested into last offseason with Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. The team then added a couple of linebacker/safety hybrids over two years with Tanner Muse and Divine Deablo. It will be interesting to see the adaption of Bradley's Seattle defense in Las Vegas. The Seahawks relied on length and athleticism in the secondary. The current personnel is an odd mixture.

The Trevon Moehrig addition in the second round was a home run and gives them that Earl Thomas-type safety. Johnathan Abram -- an enforcer when available -- has missed 18 games during his two seasons with the franchise. His health will play a key role in the overall success of the unit because the depth is relatively thin across the board.