This Sunday the Raiders will face the Cleveland Browns and No. 1 overall draft pick Baker Mayfield.
The Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback from Oklahoma is off to a good start for the Browns, leading Cleveland to a victory last week, completing 17-of-23 throws vs. the Jets for 201 yards. Mayfield showed a strong and accurate arm and an ability to move well in the pocket.
Against the 0-3 Raiders, however, Mayfield may not have to move around that much. So far, Oakland’s pass rush has been abysmal. It’s possible that the rookie could have all day to look downfield and have his choice of receivers from among a group that includes dynamic wide receiver Jarvis Landry (already with 20 catches for 278 yards), Rashard Higgins, Antonio Callaway and tight end David Njoku.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden so far has been impressed by Mayfield and says it will be “a challenge for us” to stop him.
“I think the guy has the ‘it’ factor,” Gruden told reporters this week. “He has the charisma. He has the competitiveness. He has the feel. He has the ability to be great.”
So, to contain Mayfield, a pass rush from the Raiders would be nice. Will it happen? It’s doubtful.
According to the analytic website Pro Football Focus, the Raiders rank dead last in the NFL in pressuring opposing quarterbacks. In the 98 times quarterbacks have dropped back to throw against Oakland in three games, the Raiders have just 19 pressures, a rate of just 19.3 percent. The Raiders have just three sacks in three games. Meanwhile, former Raiders star defensive end Khalil Mack — traded just before the start of the season — already has four sacks and three forced fumbles for the Bears, who lead the NFL with 14 sacks.
Sunday’s Raiders-Browns game in Oakland is set to kick off at 1:05 p.m.