What to Expect From the Oakland Raiders New Players
Elias Trejo – Apr 2, 2013
The 2013 NFL Draft is this month and the Raiders have added several players via free agency to help fill some needs. Looking at their performance last year, it was obvious that the defense needed a complete overhaul which is why six of the Raiders eight new additions this year are defensive players. I will include Matt Flynn in the list, as he was added pre-draft, even though he was not a free agent. So how do I think the new players will do in 2013? Let's take a look.
1. LB Nick Roach:
I think Roach will have the bigger impact in 2013 for the Raiders as the middle linebacker position last year was very questionable at times. The Raiders need a leader that can make an impact on the field and someone that can set an example off the field. Rolando McClain ran into many issues in 2012 and it didn't seem like he wanted to play for the Raiders anymore. Roach filled in nicely for Brian Urlacher in Chicago when he was given the opportunity. I expect Roach to have a solid season in 2013 for the Raiders.
Prediction: 124 total tackles, 4 Sacks, 2 Ints
2. LB Kevin Burnett
Burnett will replace Philip Wheeler at outside linebacker for the Raiders. Many fans were upset at the loss of Wheeler, but the Raiders were not going to overpay for a player that had half of his production in one season. Burnett actually had identical numbers to Wheeler last year, and I expect him to have another strong year in 2013. Burnett is the type of player that finds his way to the ball on almost every play. Look for Burnett and Roach to play well together in the Raiders new look defense.
Prediction: 98 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 Int
3. DT Vance Walker
I believe Walker will fill the void at starting defensive tackle. He'll improve what Seymour and Kelly did, and I'm willing to bet he'll have a better year than Desmond Bryant. Walker is the type of player that can play along any position on the defensive line. If the Raiders draft Shariff Floyd or Star Lotulelei, Walker could be in for a big season. Moving him around along with Lamarr Houston will provide the Raiders with a strong push along the defensive line. This could end up being the best signing for the Raiders this offseason.
Prediction: 30 tackles, 8 sacks
4. QB Matt Flynn
Flynn is a wildcard for the Raiders, but if he wins the starting role at quarterback he could be a pleasant surprise. Flynn has been a back up his entire career and is looking to make the move to starting quarterback. In his two starts, Flynn has been successful, but it's hard to judge him on only two starts. They want Flynn to be able to control the game and make smart decisions, but they also want him to pull the trigger when the opportunity is there. Flynn is the type of quarterback that may not lose games for you, but he's also not going to win them on his own. Flynn threw two interceptions in his first two starts, but took eight sacks. I expect Flynn to get every opportunity to start in 2013, and I don't think he'll lose a quarterback competition two years in a row.
Predictions: 3,700 yards passing, 28 TDs, 14 interceptions.
5. CB Tracy Porter:
On paper, Porter is the best cornerback on the Raiders roster heading into the season. That could change with more signings or with competition during camp. Porter brings experience and playmaking ability. With that, he also brings the ability to get beat badly and his durability is a concern. Oakland needed to make a move as the AFC West all of a sudden has three quarterbacks that were former first round picks. Porter is going to make a few big plays this year so that is important for the Raiders.
Predictions: 51 tackles, 3 interceptions
6. DE Jason Hunter
Hunter is the wildcard of the signings for the Raiders. He missed all of last year with a triceps injury, but he had won the starting defensive end position for the Broncos. If he is healthy and comes back to full form, he could easily be number one on the list. He'll help the Raiders with their pass rush in 2013, as I'm sure he'll be a major part of the rotation for the Raiders. Assuming he stays healthy this year, Hunter could be in for a big year as he'll be opposite of Houston on the defensive line.
Predictions: 38 tackles, 9 sacks
7. DT Patt Sims
Sims will help add some beef to the middle of the line and will help in short yardage situations. I can see the Raiders lining up, Walker, Sims, Star/Floyd, Houston on 3rd and short situations. He has the ability to be a strong player, but it hasn't been seen enough. If Sims is able to take advantage of the opportunities he gets, he'll be a nice addition.
Predictions: 18 tackles, 0 sacks
8. LB Kaluka Maiava
Maiava was one of the Raiders first additions. Based on what I'm hearing from my Cleveland Browns friends, he'll be a nice situational player and will make an impact on special teams. He'll be given an opportunity to start, but he'll have to beat out Miles Burris. Maiava will have to earn his playing time, but he does add nice depth to the Raiders defense.
Predictions: 41 tackles, 1 sack
9. OT Alex Barron
Barron was added to come in and compete for a roster spot and to add depth to the Raiders offensive line. Oakland resigned Khalif Barnes and already has Jared Veldheer at left tackle. Odds are Barron could be retained as a back up for both players. If he is able to return to his old form that made him a first rounder, I can see him taking Barnes place at right tackle, but right now I see him as a possible roster cut or back up.
Predictions: 50/50 to make final 53 man roster
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