The Raiders have always had a weakness at their line positions. Except the defensive line has always been the problem. With the signing of Yannick Ngakoue and other notable defensive linemen, the Raiders’ apparent weak spot is now their offensive line. The Raiders have made head-scratching moves in the past week with trades of Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Trent Brown. With all these moves let’s take a look at what the starting offensive line might look like for the Raiders in 2021.
Left Tackle: Kolton Miller
Kolton Miller was Jon Gruden’s first draft pick during his second stint with the Raiders. Gruden controversially picked Miller over star safety Derwin James and it has proven to work out in his favor. After an awful rookie season, Miller has improved tremendously and looks to be the franchise left tackle in Las Vegas.
Left Guard: Ritchie Incognito
After an injury-riddled 2020, Ritchie Incognito was cut at the beginning of the offseason. Incognito signed a team-friendly deal after stating that Las Vegas is the only place he wants to be. It seems like Incognito will be the starting left guard for the Raiders in 2021.
Center: Andre James/Nick Martin
Andre James signed with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA in 2019. James replaced Rodney Hudson when he got injured in 2019 and has impressed the coaching staff enough to be his successor. In a recent interview with Sanji T on Youtube, teammate Kolton Miller believes that Andre James has developed nicely after year two and has the promise to be their guy at the Center Position.
Nick Martin was recently signed after being cut by the Houston Texans. He isn’t going to be the guaranteed starter and will compete with Andre James.
Right Guard: Denzelle Good
Denzelle Good is a versatile lineman who has played both tackle and guard for the Raiders. In 2020, Good played most of his snaps at left guard in place of Ritchie Incognito. Good was re-signed to a two-year deal this offseason and is the presumed starter.
Right Tackle: Draft Pick
The most obvious hole for the Raiders right now is right tackle after trading Trent Brown back to the Patriots. The Raiders are most likely going to pick up a Right Tackle with one of their first two picks in the draft. If a versatile lineman like Rashawn Slater or Alijah Vera-Tucker is on the board at #17, expect them to be the pick for the Raiders.
The idea that the Raiders stripped away their Offensive Line for no reason is greatly blown out of proportion. The three starters that the Raiders have traded away have all had a history of injury in the past two years. Their replacements have all seen playing time in their absences and have played well. Not only are the Raiders getting cheaper on the offensive line, but they’re also getting younger.
Photo Credit: Jay Biggerstaff