The Raiders added running back Trent Richardson to the roster on Tuesday. He was the 10th established veteran to sign with the Silver and Black, now part of a large signing class.
General manager Reggie McKenzie may sign another, but the intense nature of last week’s courting has died down considerably. The Raiders still have plenty of needs to fill, with the draft ahead and a few veterans still on the open market.
[RELATED: 2015 Raiders offseason scorecard]
We’ve ranked the Raiders remaining needs, and how they might satiate them.
Problem spot: This position has held top billing for a few years now. The Raiders needed an impact receiver last year and supplemented only with veteran James Jones. They didn’t go after any in last year’s draft and, after missing out on frontline free-agent talent, the Raiders still need help for quarterback Derek Carr.
How to fix it: The draft and free agency. The Raiders need a top-flight receiver, and maybe another for depth. It seems likely McKenzie will use the No. 4 overall pick on Amari Cooper (this writer’s current preference) or Kevin White. Some defensive talents could get in the way, leaving receiver as a second-round option. …Going after a receiver late in free agency isn’t a bad idea, though it isn’t expected.
[RELATED: Raiders still need help at skill positions]
2. DEFENSIVE END
Problem spot: The Raiders don’t have a pass-rushing defensive end to play opposite Justin Tuck. Right now, only Benson Mayowa could man that post. The team literally has three DEs on the current roster. They need more, even with Khalil Mack playing on the line in the nickel and as a roving pass rusher in the base defense.
How to fix it: With Greg Hardy eliminated due to off-field concerns and no activity in free agency, a high draft pick should be used in this area. Edge rusher Dante Fowler and tackle/end Leonard Williams could help strengthen this area in the first round. If either player is available, they would be hard to pass up. The second round could bring other options. They need a rushing specialist, and they need one bad.
3. RIGHT GUARD
Problem spot: The Raiders have a vacancy there created by Austin Howard’s return to right guard. Career tackle Khalif Barnes has played left guard and could play on the right, but the Raiders are looking to add a more permanent fixture at that spot.
How to fix it: McKenzie nabbed left guard Gabe Jackson in last year’s third round, and he should look to strike gold in the round again this time. There are plenty of good guards in this draft and few veterans still available. Going young could lock up this line for years to come.
4. RETURN MAN
Problem spot: The Raiders never found stability at kick returner, and had cornerback T.J. Carrie returning punts for an extended period. Carrie is expected to play a major role on defense, and it might be smart to limit his injury risk by keeping him away from the return game. The same can be said for Latavius Murray, who should see a larger offensive workload.
How to fix it: The Raiders need more than one receiver, and young cornerback depth couldn’t hurt. Make the draft’s second wideout or first cornerback or running back a guy with return capabilities. He can contribute on special teams while developing as a position player. … The Raiders could also re-evaluate Greg Jenkins, who returned kicks in 2013 but was out of football for most of last year. Taiwan Jones is another internal option.
5. TIGHT END
Problem spot: Mychal Rivera is a solid receiving tight end, but the Raiders clearly want another after pursuing Jermaine Gresham in free agency. The team certainly needs depth there, and adding quality beyond Rivera seems to be a strong desire.
How to fix it: Stay in touch with Gresham. He has a back injury, but the Raiders could re-visit his employment once they get a better grasp on his health. The draft isn’t terribly deep at the tight end spot.
6. RUNNING BACK
Problem spot: McKenzie just signed Trent Richardson, but there’s no guarantee he’ll work out after a disappointing start to the Heisman Trophy finalist's NFL career. Latavius Murray could be a workhorse back, but he only has 82 career carries. Roy Helu Jr. is a solid free-agent addition, but he’s expected to be a third-down back.
How to fix it: This draft is deep at running back, so adding another rusher as a security blanket is a smart move. That especially true if he can return kicks and punts (see above). Adding competition should help the Raiders find the right mix at running back on first and second down.
[RELATED: Richardson gets 'fresh start' with Raiders]