The Oakland Raiders made quite the pre-draft off-season splash this past weekend, with the acquisition of former Steelers All-Pro wideout Antonio Brown. However, the team's trading and spending-spree didn't end there, as GM Mike Mayock continued to wheel-and-deal, filling roster spots and shedding "dead weight."
After flipping the team's 2019 third and fifth-round draft picks for one of the league's top receivers, Mayock decided it was time to part ways with two-time Pro-Bowl guard Kelechi Osemele. Oakland packaged Osemele with a '19 sixth-round pick, dealing him to the New York Jets and receiving a '19 fifth-round pick in return. The move shouldn't come as a surprise, as Raider fans were witness to the big fella's plummeting value in 2018. A Pro-Bowler in consecutive seasons (2016, '17), Osemele saw his Pro Football Focus rating dip to a "below average" (53.7) and making him the 61st out of 64 starting guards in the NFL. At any rate, the Raiders signed guard Denzelle Good to a one-year extension, whom they acquired from Indianapolis last season and will surely be penciled-in as Osemele's replacement on the left side of the line.
The offensive line was immediately bolstered with the signing of former Patriot left tackle Trent Brown to a four-year deal. This new addition means one of two things, especially considering the deal is worth a reported $66 million: Brown will either slot-in at right tackle or he will displace Oakland's 2018 first-round pick, Kolton Miller, possibly moving the slightly-disappointing young left tackle to the right side of the O-line. Either way, Miller's fellow rookie tackle, Brandon Parker, is likely to cede his starting role at right tackle. Considering the offensive line-shakeup, Mayock appears to have averted the necessity to seek lineman reinforcements via April's NFL draft.
On the defensive side, Lamarcus Joyner plans to agree to a four-year $42 million deal, shoring up the free safety position. Karl Joseph, another former first-round draft pick ('16), now has a solid performer to pair with in the Raiders defensive backfield. A somewhat under-the-radar move by the organization was the re-signing of rotational safety Erik Harris, who was surprisingly effective in limited action in 2018. With a Pro Football Focus rating of an "above average" 73.5, Harris rang-in as the no. 27 safety in the league. He will ensure Gruden has excellent depth at the safety position behind starters Joseph and Joyner. The D-line also received welcome news, as the Raiders decided to bring back defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. A recipient of a two-year contract, Hankins is likely being rewarded for providing the depth and veteran presence that is crucial to the development of Oakland's pair of young interior linemen, Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall, both of whom were fifth and second-round picks in the '18 draft, respectively.
Now, what does this all mean? First of all, the acquisitions of Antonio Brown, Trent Brown, and Lamarcus Joyner, all of whom are bona fide NFL starters, automatically serve to fill the Raiders' immediate needs, at the wide receiver, offensive tackle, and free safety positions. Second, concerns about whether Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock are interested in putting some form of quality product on the field for the 2019 season should be assuaged. Lastly, the organization (and fans, alike) now has a clear picture of what the team's vital needs are ahead of Oakland's highly-anticipated three-pack of '19 draft picks. Gruden and Mayock can now pare-down their options and be laser-focused on exactly which prospects are a good fit to wear the silver and black.