The Las Vegas Raiders had to overcome a lot during the 2021 season. Head coach Jon Gruden resigned after some of his emails were leaked during the investigation into the Washington Football Team, with Rich Bisaccia taking over as interim head coach.
Both of their 2020 first-round picks, wide receiver Henry Ruggs III and Damon Arnette, were both released. Ruggs was involved in a high-speed crash that resulted in the death of a woman. Arnette had a video of him brandishing weapons and making threats and was subsequently released.
Despite all of that, Las Vegas finished the season 10-7, earning a playoff spot with a victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 18. While they will be under new management in 2022, with Mike Mayock being fired as general manager, and possibly a new head coach, this is a team that could remain a playoff contender with some additions.
The Raiders have some very clear needs entering the offseason. They will need to address some of them if they want to experience success in 2022. Over at ClutchPoints, three players were identified as free agent targets to help fill those holes.
The first player mentioned was safety Tyrann Mathieu. He is one of the best defenders in the NFL and adding him would certainly perk up a defense that was sometimes lacking in the secondary.
Las Vegas got one of the biggest steals of the 2021 NFL Draft when they landed safety Trevon Moehrig out of TCU. Finding a partner for him back there should be near the to-do list this offseason and Mathieu would fit the bill.
Not only would acquiring the former LSU standout improve their own team, but it would also weaken one of their rivals in the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are who everyone is trying to catch in the AFC, so poaching some of their talent to worsen their position makes sense.
The second player mentioned at ClutchPoints was offensive guard Brandon Scherff. Improving their offensive line, specifically on the interior, is important for the Raiders. Derek Carr was sacked 40 times this season, so the Raiders have to do a better job of protecting him in 2022, or whoever is under center.
Adding Scherff would also help improve the team’s run game, which was underwhelming at times. The Raiders look to have swung and missed on first-round pick Alex Leatherwood in 2021 and need to upgrade the rest of the unit.
Last, but not least, on the list is wide receiver, Davante Adams. Adams is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL and would upgrade virtually any offense in the NFL. There have been some rumors that he wants to remain a tandem with Aaron Rodgers. If that is not possible the Raiders have some appeal.
Las Vegas could use an upgrade at the wide receiver position. Hunter Renfrow is excellent working underneath and from the slot but is not a true No. 1 go-to receiver. That is a hole Adams would fill and it wouldn’t take much time to find chemistry with Carr.
The two played collegiately together at Fresno State. Playing together in the NFL is something both have said they would like to do and this could be their best chance to make that dream come true.
Adding a weapon like Adams to go along with Renfrow and tight end Darren Waller would help push the Raiders toward the upper echelon of the league. That is important, as their AFC West rivals in the Chiefs, Raiders and Denver Broncos all have the makings of explosive offenses.