The Oakland Raiders have a lot of cap space to play with and a ton of holes on the roster to apply it to. You could literally pick a position out of a hat and almost be guaranteed that it is one of desperate need for the Raiders. Aside from the linebacking unit which is fairly strong, the Raiders simply need help everywhere.
But of all the needs they have, the offensive and defensive lineman are easily the areas of most need. The defensive line lacked the ability to get any sort of pass rush going without the use of blitzes and the offense was made up of a rag tag unit of league rejects.
While general manager Reggie McKenzie is likely to go after lineman on both sides of the ball, there is a chance that they end up with the top two linemen in cover32’s list of top offensive linemen available in free agency.
And it’s something that McKenzie needs to seriously consider.
The best lineman on the list is Raiders left tackle Jared Veldheer, someone who is unlikely to even see the free agent market. Easily the best player on their offense and probably the best player on the entire team, Veldheer is a young and talented player at one of the most important positions in the league. The chances that the Raiders allow him the chance to sign elsewhere is very unlikely.
The second best lineman on the list is Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack. Last season, the Raiders center position was locked down by Young Wiz, Stefen WIsniewski so an upgrade is not necessarily needed.
What is needed drastically is an upgrade at both guard positions. Lucas Nix had one of the worst seasons of any offensive lineman in the NFL and Mike Brisiel has still not been able to overcome injuries and inconsistent play.
Signing Mack would upgrade both positions.
While Wiz is a good center, Mack is one of the best centers in the game. Plus, Wiz is an instant upgrade at either guard position (where he played his first year in the NFL). Signing Mack and re-signing Veldheer would result in the Raiders having three of their five lineman being guys with the Pro Bowl caliber potential.
That would do wonders for the offense and make a big time difference in 2014.