The Raiders have been a perplexing team this offseason. Over the last few months, Las Vegas has gone through free agency and the NFL Draft and made decisions that have some critics questioning the general direction of the club. For instance, the team signed running back Kenyan Drake to a $14.5 million deal when they already boast one of the league's better backs in Josh Jacobs. Meanwhile, they shipped out a number of key offensive linemen -- including center Rodney Hudson -- and drafted tackle Alex Leatherwood, which was a selection that was viewed as a reach by most draft experts.
At Raiders minicamp, Gruden, who is entering his fourth season with the team, was asked if he felt this was the best roster he's had over his tenure. In his answer, the head coach acknowledged the outside perception of Las Vegas' recent moves but supports the direction his club is heading.
"Well, I'll have to see when we get to camp," Gruden said Wednesday, via NFL.com. "Obviously, we like it on paper. We made some changes that are, you know, in some people's eyes, uh, questionable. But we're younger, I think we're faster. I think we do have more depth. It's hard to update that question right now without seeing everything in pads at full strength."
Specifically regarding Leatherwood, Gruden dismissed the notion that the club reached for him at the draft. In fact, he felt fortunate that he fell to them at No. 17 overall.
"Well, he's very smart. Very athletic. He's long. He's a talented player," Gruden said of Leatherwood. "And that's why we took him. We had him ranked high on our board and we're glad he fell to us. We're glad he was there for us. Smart guy, very athletic. And he has a lot of experience. So, we're counting on him being our starting right tackle."
While the Raiders have some scratching their head with some of their offseason maneuvers, they also did make some savvy additions as well. Receivers John Brown and Willie Snead should help bolster the passing game and the arrival of pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue and rookie safety Trevon Moehrig should help the defensive side of the ball as well.
"We proved we can compete in the AFC West," said Gruden. "We proved we can win on the road. Now we've got to prove we can win at a much higher level."
William Hill Sportsbook has Las Vegas with the least favorable odds to win the AFC West at +1800 and is currently sitting at a 7.5 over/under win total for 2021.