Gruden Identifies ‘glaring Needs’ Heading Into Crucial Raiders Offseason

[CSNBY] Gruden identifies 'glaring needs' heading into crucial Raiders offseason
Scott Bair

INDIANAPOLIS – The Raiders finished 6-10 last season. Rosters compiling that record are generally deficient.

The Silver and Black are no exception. The Raiders need help in several areas, which new head coach Jon Gruden made clear on Wednesday morning at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Most of them, as you'd figure are on one side of the ball.

"Defensively, there are some glaring needs at this time," Gruden said. "Free agency hasn't started yet, but our linebacker core, we have a lot of unknowns there -- NaVorro Bowman is a free agent. We're looking for an inside pass-rusher to step up. Our secondary, we have to clean that up. I think most importantly with the Raiders, just looking at our last three drafts, we need some young people to emerge and start playing – a lot – for this football team."

Gruden knows young players already on the roster need to fill bigger roles (stay tuned for more on that in a Thursday morning post), but he is committed to upgrading the roster this offseason in free agency and the NFL draft.

Linebacker. Defensive back. Interior defensive line. Edge rushing depth. The Raiders could use help in those areas.

Gruden also mentioned occasionally poor play on the right side of the offensive line, putting offensive tackle on the checklist.

"We need depth in some areas, and starters in some areas," Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. "Like last year, we have a lot of players who are free agents. If we can't re-sign them, we have to replace them. …We have a lot of holes to fill in."

McKenzie hopes to re-sign pending free agents NaVorro Bowman, Denico Autry and Lee Smith, among others in a 17-man free-agent class. Failing to do so would create more holes in the depth chart.

There are, however, some glaring weaknesses on the roster.

"We do have some free agents out there, we have some needs that are obvious, you don't have to be a football genius (to identify them)," Gruden said. "We have a lot of work to do."

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