Pro Football Focus released their preseason rankings of the NFL’s top secondary units and the Oakland Raiders didn’t score very high – although their stock has improved.
For the Raiders faithful, the futility and frustrations over the teams secondary have been an almost annual rite. In 2017, the unit could not muster enough to get its first interception until Week 11.
It was that kind of season – again.
Add in injuries to top draft pick Gareon Conley, and instability amongst the rest, and it was another forgettable campaign for the Raiders defensive backfield.
In an attempt to aggressively address those shortcomings, Oakland’s general manager Reggie McKenzie made wholesale changes throughout the secondary while keeping talent he had already signed to the roster.
With the shrewd addition of Rashaan Melvin, Marcus Gilchrist, and Shareece Wright, there’s no doubt the Raiders are better – at least on paper. Melvin is the real deal and Gilchrist and Wright are solid and battle-tested veterans who will add a great dose of leadership. Add in the return of a healthy Conley, and a resurgent Karl Joseph at safety and the team could see a big improvement in this transition year under new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
The budget signing of Melvin could pay off big dividends after his career year a season ago.
Still, Pro Football Focus hasn’t seen enough yet to make them believe the unit can jump even into the middle of the pack. They ranked the Raiders 24th – just behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and ahead of the Houston Texans.
“The budget signing of Melvin could pay off big dividends after his career year a season ago,” said PFF’s Michael Renner. “They’ll need last year’s first-round pick – Conley – to get back healthy after playing only 92 snaps a season ago.”
The Raiders secondary looks to be better with the new additions, but the boys will have to prove it on the field before the rest of the world starts believing.
Top 10 NFL Secondaries (Pro Football Focus)
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Los Angeles Rams
- Baltimore Ravens
- Atlanta Falcons
- Minnesota Vikings
- Buffalo Bills
- New Orleans Saints
- Tennessee Titans
- Denver Broncos