It is only fitting that the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas this season required them to take a big gamble. Back in 2018, they did not want to pay star edge rusher Khalil Mack, choosing to part with him for two first-round picks. While we do not know all the details behind the choice, many have speculated that giving Mack the guaranteed money he desired would leave the franchise cash strapped for their eventual big move to Vegas.
No matter the situation, the move has finally happened, and they have abandoned their home in the Bay to become the second professional franchise in Sin City. They will play in a gigantic dark hole of a stadium—that likely will not have fans in attendance this season—in a city that may not be able to viably hold an NFL team anymore. It appears that the gamble may not pay off, but winning a Super Bowl could quell a lot of problems.
The franchise could be in a lot of trouble soon but has some young players that should make the team exciting going forward and should garner some interest.
Can the Las Vegas Raiders make a real impact on the playoff race in their first season in a new home?
The NFL season is almost upon us! Over the next few weeks I will be previewing each of the 32 NFL teams, and ranking them 1-32 as to how likely I believe they are to win Super Bowl LV. This week we continue the list with teams on the fringe of the playoff conversation.
25. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders debut season in Vegas will likely all come down to their quarterback. Their roster is more talented than you may imagine, they just need Derek Carr to tie it all together. If he does not, the team may finally pull the trigger on moving on from him—they signed former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota this offseason—and the Jon Gruden regime can finally bring in a guy of their own.
Carr has been criticized in the past for his over-passivity, and many have also questioned his leadership. This year he has a chance to silence doubters as he truly does have the tools around him needed to succeed.
Las Vegas added speedy wide receiver Henry Ruggs in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, and he will join a receiving corps that includes the likes of Tyrell Williams, Nelson Agholor and Hunter Renfrow. Not a star-studded group of guys, but there is enough talent there for a good quarterback to work with. And the oldest of the group is Williams, who is only 28.
Running back Josh Jacobs returns after a stand out rookie season. Offensive weapon Lynn Bowden—who played basically every position for the Kentucky Wildcats last season, including quarterback—was added in the draft. Like the receivers, the Raiders will be depending on two younger running back with a lot of upside to carry them this season.
There are some youngsters to be excited about on the defensive side of the ball as well. Defensive end Maxx Crosby took off last season and likely would have been Defensive Rookie of the Year if not for a stand-out season by Nick Bosa. Clelin Ferrell has not had the most promising career thus far since being selected early in the 2018 draft, but he still has time to turn it around.
The Raiders also added Maliek Collins to their defensive line, a young defensive tackle formerly of the Dallas Cowboys that rarely got the attention that he deserved. While he did not fill up the box score and occasionally had off games, when he is at his best, he can be a dominant pass rusher from the inside.
Vegas also added Damon Arnette to the struggling secondary. The 20th overall pick in the 2020 draft is can be next in line in a long history of Ohio State corners who have dominated at the NFL level.
Las Vegas has young team full of potential. They may not be ready to compete just yet, but the pieces are all there. 2020 is about Carr and the quarterback proving to the franchise that he is the guy worthy of leading all of this young talent for the long term. If he fails as a leader once again, do not be surprised if they are on the market for a quarterback in 2021. And if they do not figure out their situation at quarterback soon, the entire franchise could have a big problem.