Oakland Raiders: Five Positions They Need to Address When Free Agency Starts

Ramone BrownSenior Writer IMay 24, 2011

Oakland Raiders: Five Positions They Need to Address When Free Agency Starts

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    Despite lacking a first round draft pick the Raiders were still able to make a few improvements through the draft. They improved the offensive line, added depth at corner and receiver, and even landed a few luxury picks.

    With that said the Raiders still have a ways to go and could improve a few positions they were unable to address in the draft.

    Here's a look at positions and players who I think the Raiders should look at in free agency

Outside Linebacker

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    Lets face it, linebacker was the weakness of the Raiders defense last year.

    Rolando McClain didn't light things up his rookie year like many were expecting. Well, Darren Sproles and Danny Amendola, both victims of his raw power and ability, would beg to differ.

    Trevor Scott, Quentin Groves and Thomas Howard all struggled mightily at weak outside linebacker, and none of them seem to be the answer.

    The only Raider linebacker who really performed well was Kamerion Wimbley, who played the roles of strong-side linebacker as well as pass rusher.

    The Raiders need to bring in a a qaulity player to start on the weak-side opposite of Wimbley and shore up the run defense. That position is the weak link on this defense and needs to be addressed.

    To fill this need I like Manny Lawson because of his elite athleticism and versatility. Simply put, he has Raider speed.

    Other options: Rocky Mcintosh, Dhani Jones, James Anderson, Kirk Morrison, Eric Barton, Ben Leber, Keith Bullock

Wide Reciever

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    I really don't care if you think this will be the year Chaz Schilens stays healthy, or if this is gonna be the year that Darius Heyward-Bey breaks out, or you have high hopes for one of the Raiders rookies receivers.

    I've heard all of this before.

    Bottom line is the Raiders had the least productive receiver corps in the NFL and a struggling passing offense. If Jason Campbell is to succeed in Oakland, the Raiders have to address this problem.

    There has been talk of Steve Smith wanting to be traded to Oakland, but I personally like Terrell Owens.

    I also don't care if you have a problem with his character either. Despite being 37 Terrell Owens had 72 receptions last year, which is more than any Raider since Randy Moss had 79 in 2005.

    Other options: Randy Moss, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Sydney Rice, Steve Smith, Malcolm Floyd, Santana Moss, Steve Breaston

Offensive Tackle

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    As far as pass protection is concerned the Raiders were arguably the worst in the NFL.

    If the Raiders do not address this issue Jason Campbell will not make it through the sixteen game season.

    To make matters worse Mario Henderson, Khalif Barnes and Langston Walker are all becoming free agents, leaving Jared Veldheer as the only offensive tackle under contract for the Raiders.

    Raiders coach Hue Jackson said he wants to turn the offense into a bully. The best way to build a bully is by bringing in big nasty offensive linemen.

    Personally I like Tyson Clabo, the dude is a mauler.

    Other options: Willie Colon, Doug Free, Jamal Brown, Jared Gaither, Alex Barron

Offensive Guard

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    The Raiders offensive line is ugly and hasn't performed up to par in pass protection.

    Though the guard position isn't in as bad shape as the tackle position, it could still use some help. Currently the Raiders have Bruce Campbell, Cooper Carlisle and Daniel Loper under contract.

    With just those three it's obvious the Raiders are in great need of an upgrade, as well as solid depth.

    I like Derrick Dockery, he was a force at guard for the Redskins until they changed to a zone blocking scheme under Shanahan, a scheme Dockery doesn't fit.

    The Ravens placed a third round tender on him, though it is not yet clear whether that tender will be recognized under the new CBA.

    Regardless though he would be worth the price-tag.

    Other Options: Harvey Dahl, Chris Chester, Justin Blalock, Kyle Kosier, Davin Joseph, Mike Brisiel, David Baas


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    Let me start off by saying, this is not a knock on Jason Campbell and I already know the Raiders are fully invested in him as the starter.

    With that said though the Raiders only have two QBs on the roster: Jason Campbell and Kyle Boller.

    It is a must that they bring in at least one more, for depth if not anything else.

    I personally like Troy Smith as a backup to Jason Campbell, because his athleticism could add another dimension to the Raiders offense and he has ties to Hue Jackson.

    Other option: Matt Hassleback, Alex Smith, Bruce Gradkowski, Tavaris Jackson, Rex Grossman, Matt Leinart, J.P. Losman, Brodie Croyle, Charlie Frye


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    Notice I didn't include corner or safety.

    Thats because I don't beleive either is a glaring need for the Raiders, and I believe that regardless of whether the Raiders lose Michael Huff and Nnamdi Asomugha.

    With that said I would like to know what the rest of Raider Nation thinks. What are the Raiders' biggest areas of need, and which players are the best choices for the Raider?