The Raiders are looking for significant improvement in Jon Gruden’s second season. Here are five bold predictions about what Oakland will achieve in 2019.
HBO didn’t elect to cover the Raiders on Hard Knocks for no reason. Gruden’s second season in Oakland should be better than his opening campaign, but there will be lots of drama. Any team that brings in both Antonio Brown and Richie Incognito in the same offseason is asking for tumult in their locker room.
That doesn’t mean the Raiders won’t improve on last season’s 4-12 record. Gruden definitely has more talent to work with. The organization had zero pass rush last year after trading Khalil Mack, but drafting Clelin Ferrell should help give the unit some punch.
The addition of both Brown and Tyrell Williams at wide receiver will give Derek Carr some talented targets to work with. Drafting Josh Jacobs late in round one should also help solidify the Raiders ground game. The offense isn’t put together perfectly, but there’s definitely more ability for Gruden to cultivate this season.
Without delay, let’s jump into five bold predictions for what may be the most unpredictable team in the NFL.
5. Johnathan Abram will make the Pro Bowl
The Raiders defense was abysmal this season, but the secondary actually has a reasonable amount of talent. Gareon Conley is one of the better starting corners in the NFL. The addition of LaMarcus Joyner in free agency gives the team an above average safety.
Abram’s job should be pretty straight forward as a result of the talent around him. He’ll get a lot of opportunities to play near the line of scrimmage and make plays. That’s where his strength lies. Turn on tape of him at Mississippi State and you see a safety who loves to flow to the football and hit people. That’s what Gruden will allow him to do on most downs.
Add it all up and it’s easy to see Abram having a really productive rookie season. If the Raiders can up their win total, it’s easy to see him ending up in the Pro Bowl.