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Ranking Raiders biggest need positions ahead of free agency

Happy March everyone. It’s officially the month of the new league year which also means free agency is upon us.

In preparation for this, we take a look at the biggest need areas for the Raiders, starting with the most critical and working our way from there.

1. Quarterback

Aug 26, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/las-vegas/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Las Vegas Raiders;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Las Vegas Raiders</a> quarterback <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/40138/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Aidan O’Connell;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Aidan O’Connell</a> (4) in the pocket in the first quarter against the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/dallas/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Dallas Cowboys;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Dallas Cowboys</a> at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Condition: Critical

Aidan O’Connell played decent at times last season, but didn’t show he can be the long term solution. Jimmy Garoppolo will be cut this offseason. As will Brian Hoyer.

There is no question quarterback is THE top priority for this team. It was a top priority last offseason, but Josh McDaniels opted to go with a familiar face from his New England days. That backfired spectacularly, putting the Raiders right back where they were.

2. Interior Offensive Line

Las Vegas Raiders guard <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/34046/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Dylan Parham;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Dylan Parham</a> (66) during the first half of an NFL football game against the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/arizona/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Arizona Cardinals;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Arizona Cardinals</a>, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/las-vegas/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Las Vegas;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Las Vegas</a>. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The only interior starter from last season still under contract next season is Dylan Parham. He could stay at left guard or move to center. What their plans are for him could decide whether they bring back center Andre James or not.

Either way, they need to sign two interior linemen. That means either re-signing James and adding a guard or moving Parham to center and adding two guards. There is no way around addressing the interior line this offseason.

3. Interior Defensive Line

Aug 13, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/30655/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Adam Butler;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Adam Butler</a> (69) and defensive end <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/30186/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Jordan Willis;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Jordan Willis</a> (99) celebrate against the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/san-francisco/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:San Francisco 49ers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">San Francisco 49ers</a> in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Three of the four interior defensive lineman who were regular parts in the rotation last season are set to be free agents. Only Jerry Tillery remains and he wasn’t even a regular starter due to his deficiencies against the run. Adam Butler played well enough to earn a return. If they bring him back, they would still need to add one more talented interior lineman. If they don’t, they would need a couple.

4. Offensive tackle

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 02: The Las Vegas Raiders, including offensive tackle <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/34194/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Thayer Munford;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Thayer Munford</a> Jr. #77 and center Andre James #68, wait to take the field for a game against the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/denver/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Denver Broncos;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Denver Broncos</a> at Allegiant Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 32-23. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Condition: Serious

No worries at left tackle. But right tackle is a concern. They can limit that concern by bringing back Eluemunor, but regardless seeking an upgrade at that spot would be smart. Eluemunor can play tackle or guard and is a good piece to have around. Second year man Thayer Munford has also shown potential, but it would not be smart to move forward with him as the only option at such a crucial spot.

5. Cornerback

Nov 26, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/kansas-city/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Kansas City Chiefs;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Kansas City Chiefs</a> wide receiver <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/40084/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Rashee Rice;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Rashee Rice</a> (4) is tackled by Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Jack Jones (18) during the second quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Amik Robertson began fitting in really well as a locker room presence and with some improved play at outside corner, but an upgrade is needed and he could be headed for free agency. Jack Jones is good, but he’s not a number one corner. They need a bonafide number one cornerback to start on the outside to complete this group.

6. Running back

Jan 7, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders running back <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/34078/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Zamir White;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Zamir White</a> (35) is pushed out of bounds by Denver Broncos linebacker <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/40109/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Drew Sanders;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Drew Sanders</a> (41) during the second quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Condition: Unstable

Josh Jacobs is set to become a free agent again and this time they won’t be using the franchise tag on him which would pay him over $14 million next season. Zamir White had a couple great games late in the season, but had shown no indication he could be a full time starter prior to that, plus GM Tom Telesco has made it clear they want a RB by committee situation. If they can afford to bring back Jacobs, that would solve it. If not, they will have to find another option.

Jakob Johnson was the team’s primary fullback and they could probably bring him easily if they wished to do so.

Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire