The hiring of Jon Gruden has changed everything for the Raiders. Here are five bold predictions for Oakland’s 2018 campaign.
There can be no debate that a new sheriff has arrived in Oakland. Jon Gruden has taken the reigns for the Raiders and he’s shaking things up. No one is quite sure what they’ll see from the team next season, but you can guarantee it will be interesting.
Gruden inherits a team that went 6-10 last season, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t serious talent in Oakland. The defense is star-studded with players like Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. The offense has a three-time Pro Bowler at quarterback. There are quite a few NFL coaches who would be happy to trade rosters with the Raiders.
The team isn’t perfect though. They’ll have to rely on several rookies to play prominent roles in 2018. That, in and of itself, should lead to a relatively high degree of variance for the Silver and Black. Gruden’s first season back in the NFL should be a wild ride. That means quite a few interesting results for individual players. Our first bold prediction deals with one of the team’s big-name free agent additions.
5. Jordy Nelson won’t catch 50 passes
The Green Bay Packers know a ton about talented wide receivers. The fact that they were willing to let Nelson leave via free agency should have been a clear message to the Raiders. They’ve acquired a wide receiver who is well past his prime.
Raiders fans shouldn’t expect Nelson to be very durable or productive. He only managed to catch 53 passes in Green Bay last season and things are likely going to get worse in Oakland. He may be good enough to make an occasional play out of the slot, but he’s not going to live up to the $7 million and change he’s going to make this season.