Changes Ahead: Raiders Must Bolster Roster

defensive end Jared Odrick
Nov 13, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Jared Odrick (75) runs out of the tunnel before a football game against the Houston Texans at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

At 2-3 headed into Week 6, saying the Oakland Raiders season is off to an unexpected start would be an understatement. Coming off a 12-4 season marred by injury, the Raiders became preseason favorites through various moves. Now, the may be on the brink of a losing season. With injuries on both sides of the ball, it’s time for the Raiders to make some moves to save a season prematurely destined for greatness.

On October 9, reports came out that defensive tackle Darius Latham would be suspended without pay for the Raiders next four games for abuse of the league’s substance abuse policy. Latham played just one game this season, but the loss is a major knock for a team struggling across the board in depth on the defensive side.

The solution to that problem would be signing free agent defensive lineman Jared Odrick. In seven seasons split between the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars, Odrick recorded 23 sacks. At 29, Odrick could potentially have a few solid years ahead of him. Odrick has the ability to play anywhere along the defensive line, and would give Oakland interior pressure, as well as a capable EDGE defender to substitute for Khalil Mack or Bruce Irvin. With the Raiders possessing $12 million in cap space, general manager Reggie Mckenzie could secure Odrick on a prove-it deal that surely wouldn’t put a dent in his wallet.

At linebacker, the Raiders have opted to go with the young core of Cory James, Marquel Lee, Nicholas Morrow and Tyrell Adams. James is currently battling knee issues, and Lee went down with an ankle injury Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens that could possibly sideline him for a lengthy period. According to Pro Football Focus, Adams is struggling bad, showing the naivety of having four backers with a year of experience between them.

San Francisco 49ers veteran linebacker NaVorro Bowman has been sidelined for extended periods of time through the first five weeks of the season. At 29, a fair share of injuries have slowed down a promising career for the former pro bowler. Looking healthy and in-shape, a veteran like Bowman in the middle would immediately bolster the Raiders defense, provided leadership and talent. A conditional late-round pick or two for Bowman is well worth it for a team that can’t afford to lose any more games.

With cornerbacks David Amerson and Gareon Conley consistently battling injuries, the Raiders were restricted to just three cornerbacks Sunday. Both TJ Carrie and Dexter McDonald have flashed, while veteran Sean Smith continues to regress. Ultimately, the Raiders will be forced to activate unproven rookie Breon Borders, but that won’t be enough. While McKenzie hasn’t been one to do much trading involving picks, it’s now or never, and he must get in contact with teams about securing an outside corner and quick.

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