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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Raiders Roster Review: Can the Offensive Line Get Back to Being Great?

Raiders Roster Review: Can the Offensive Line Get Back to Being Great?

Can the Raiders Offensive Line get back to being the best?
Jan 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders guard Gabe Jackson (66) and Oakland Raiders (61) and offensive guard Kelechi Osemele (70) pass block in the first half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

 

Last season, nothing went right for the Oakland Raiders offense and that includes the once highly vaunted offensive line. The group of maulers up front struggled to play consistently in both run and pass blocking, which was a major issue in 2017. Hopefully they can bounce back in 2018 and once again be one of the strengths of the Raiders.

Starters: Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, Marshall Newhouse

Backups: Vadal Alexander, John Feliciano, Denver Kirkland, David Sharpe, Jylan Ware

Impending Free Agents: None

The middle of the offensive line for the Raiders is about as solid as you can get. Rodney Hudson was the one member of the OL that didn’t take a step back this season. On the contrary, Hudson was as dominant as ever, if not better. Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson, on the other hand, had their fair share of struggles. That being said, both Osemele and Jackson have resumes and experience that make you confident their struggles were more of a fluke than the new norm. All three guys are still pretty young and there are all the reasons in the world to think they can bounce back to being the dominant interior we saw in 2017.

The book ends are an entirely different question. Marshall Newhouse was always a stop gap, so it was never expected that he would be great. But he was just flat out bad and was a liability in the same way right tackle has been a liability for the Raiders for years now. On the left, Donald Penn continues to show his age. He still has moments of playing like a high caliber left tackle, but those moments are becoming fewer and fewer. It seems like he has at least one more year left in him, but it’s questionable how much longer than that he will be worth keeping around.

Behind the starters, the Raiders have two very high caliber backups in Vadal Alexander and John Feliciano. Alexander can backup both guard and tackle and do fairly well at either spot. Feliciano can backup the guard and center positions and as a backup guard. he is very, very good. So good that when he filled in for an injured Gabe Jackson and there really wasn’t a very big drop off.

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