Jon Gruden Making Splashes

Getty
Getty

The Oakland Raiders were 4-12 last season, and this was not by mistake. Jon Gruden traded away the best players on his team in Amari Cooper and arguably one of the best players in the NFL in Khalil Mack. 9 games into Amari Cooper's Dallas Cowboys' career he has 725 yards and 6 touchdowns. Meaning if Cooper kept his average yards per game, which is 80 (career high) with Dallas, he would end up at 1,285 ranking him at 11 behind Antonio Brown. Khalil Mack also had a great year and his stat line did not do him enough justice. The guy was just plain dominant.

Although Gruden made these questionable moves, things are starting to pan out in the Raiders favor. Ultimately, Jon Gruden replaced Amari Cooper with Antonio Brown, arguably one of the best receivers in the NFL if not the best. Signing OT Trent Brown of the Patriots to a record deal was a move the Raiders had to make in order to solidify the offensive line. Not only that, Gruden then signed two more guys from the west coast in Safety Lamarcus Joyner, who is one of the best at his position and WR Tyrell Williams of the LA Chargers. 

Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group
Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group

Derek Carr has shown flashes of being a great quarterback and the Raiders have no choice to believe in him because he is in the midst of a monster contract. The running back position is in question unless MarShawn Lynch can come back and have a solid year, but I fully expect the Raiders to address this need in the draft. 

The Raiders own three picks in the first round of this years draft (No. 4, No. 24 (Bears), No. 27 (Cowboys). After pouring money into the offense, Gruden must hit on all of his draft picks in order for the Raiders to have a successful year. Drafting OLB Josh Allen from Kentucky is definitely the first step of this process. Allen has shown the physical traits to be dominant in this league. Not only that, teams have said that he is just a great guy from interviews with him at the combine.

The Raiders are in one of the hardest divisions in football. They have to play Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs twice a year, the Los Angeles Charges who finished as one of the top teams in the AFC twice a year, and possibly a resurgent Denver Broncos team with Joe Flacco at the helm now. It will not be an easy path for the Oakland Raiders, but Jon Gruden deserves to finally get some credit for his work as General Manager. With 8 picks in the upcoming draft, this could be a franchise-altering season for the Oakland Raiders. As long as Gruden does well in this draft, the Raiders could be set up for a lot of future success.