The Las Vegas Raiders had the longest wait to make their first pick in the NFL Draft since 2012. There were few complaints as the Las Vegas front office and coaching staff were more than happy to give up the team’s first two picks in exchange for perhaps the top receiver in the NFL. Davante Adams put up some incredible numbers playing with Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers. Now Adams will be reunited with his former college teammate Derek Carr.
Adams will have help with tight end Darren Waller and receiver Hunter Renfrow proven receivers.
The Raiders will be playing in the Hall of Fame Game giving them an extra preseason game to get prepared for the season. The Raiders could use that extra week. The first five games of the season come against the Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. If the Raiders stumble out of the gate, it might make it hard for Las Vegas to defy the NFL predictions by returning to the playoffs.
The Raiders (+550) are fourth out of four teams in the current odds to win the AFC West Division title. According to the Las Vegas odds, eight AFC teams have better odds to win the Super Bowl than the Raiders (+3000).
2021 record: 10-7 (second in AFC West)
Playoff results: Lost to Cincinnati 26-19 in wild-card round.
Season opener: at Los Angeles Chargers, Sept. 11, 4:25 p.m. EDT
Playoff teams on 2022 schedule: HOME – Arizona, Kansas City, New England, San Francisco; AWAY – Kansas City, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh, Tennessee
Key newcomers: WR Davante Adams, LB Chandler Jones, LB Jayon Brown, DL Tyler Lancaster, DL Bilal Nichols, LB Kenny Young, WR Keelan Cole, CB Anthony Averett, CB Rock Ya-Sin, OL Dylan Parham (third-round pick); RB Kamir White (fourth-round pick), Neil Farrell (fourth-round pick).
Key losses: DE Yannick Ngakoue, WR Bryan Edwards, LB Cory Littleton, LB Nick Kwiatkowski, DE Carl Nassib, OL Nick Martin, DT Solomon Thomas, LB Marquel Lee, DT Gerald McCoy, CB Casey Hayward, CB Desmond Trufant.
Award candidates: Davante Adams, +1200 in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds; Maxx Crosby, +2500 in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year odds; Derek Carr, +5000 in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds; Chandler Jones, +6000 in the NFL Defensive of the Year odds; Hunter Renfrow, +6000 in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds; Zamir White, +6000 in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds; Josh Jacobs, +10000 in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds; Darren Waller, +10000 in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds.
Adding Adams is certainly a way to improve an offense that averaged 22 points a game in 2021. The Raiders were 11th in total offense but just 18th in scoring offense. With Adams on board, quarterback Carr should throw more than 23 touchdown passes this season. Adams (+1200) has the fifth-best odds to lead the NFL in receiving yards according to the sportsbook.
His presence should make the jobs easier for the rest of the Raiders receivers. Renfrow, who recently signed a contract extension, is one of the main benefactors from the arrival of Adams.
From college walk-on to NFL Pro Bowler 🎰@renfrowhunter was full of gratitude as he signed his new extension that keeps him in the Silver & Black 👇
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) June 13, 2022
There are some questions about the future of starting running back Josh Jacobs who averaged 3.9 and 4.0 yards per carry in the last two seasons after a 4.8 yards per carry mark as a rookie.
If Zamir White comes in and steals the show, Jacobs’ days in Las Vegas could be numbered.
Other than using its first pick of the draft on Dylan Parham, the Raiders didn’t do much to address the offensive line. There will be plenty of eyes on last year’s first-round pick Alex Leatherwood who didn’t live up to being the fourth offensive lineman selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. He started off at tackle but it wasn’t until he moved inside to guard when his play started to improve.
If the offensive line can do a better job opening holes for the running backs and keeping Carr pressure free, this could be a vastly improved offense.
The trade for Adams dominated the headlines and overshadowed how much effort the Raiders made in upgrading their defense.
Chandler Jones comes in from Arizona and will team with Maxx Crosby to give the Raiders two dynamic pass rushers. That’s a smart move considering that the quarterbacks of the Raiders division rivals are Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Russell Wilson of the Denver Broncos and Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Raiders also brought in 300-pound defensive tackles Bilal Nichols and Tyler Lancaster. Is this the year when 2019 top-five pick Clelin Ferrell becomes an impact player on defense.
Denzel Perryman had a huge first season with the Raiders. He led Las Vegas with 154 tackles. After that, there are more questions than answers at linebacker. Third-leading tackler Cory Littleton is now a member of the Carolina Panthers. Jayon Brown and Kenny Young. Brown missed 15 games over the last three seasons with the Tennessee Titans so that is a concern as well.
Cornerback Nate Hobbs was a revelation as a rookie but needs some help. Safety Trevon Moehring had his moments as a rookie as well. The secondary will be built around them.
It was quite the 2021 season for the Raiders. Emails surfaced that painted head coach Jon Gruden in a negative light and brought an end to his second run as the head coach with the Raiders.
Rich Bisaccia served as the interim coach and despite a 7-5 record, he was not retained. The Raiders hired Josh McDaniels who was part of six Super Bowl-winning teams as an assistant coach with the New England Patriots. However, he was just 11-17 in his first NFL head-coaching stint with the Denver Broncos. Twelve years later he is back as a head coach.
Though the Raiders added Adams and Jones to a playoff team, the Raiders are in one of the toughest divisions in football. Offseason acquisitions by the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers pushed them ahead of the Raiders in the AFC East odds.
Those who bet online will keep an eye on how the Raiders navigate through a rugged early portion of the schedule.