Easy money may have been on the Oakland Raiders finishing last in the AFC West in 2019 but after the NFL Draft, you may want to re-think that bet.
The Oakland Raiders had a 2019 NFL Draft more logical than laughable. That’s good news for a franchise who finished 4-12 in 2018 and looked to possibly be replacing a decent if not a good starting quarterback in Derek Carr.
Second-year head coach Jon Gruden, who has seldom kept his skepticism of Carr a secret, had his opportunities but managed to hold his fire. For critics, and he has many, most are now conceding that the Raiders look to have a plan. While their first selection at No. 4 Clelin Ferrell drew some fodder, reviews are fairly positive overall.
Looking forward to this coming season, the last season in Oakland may prove to be a positive one. In a division where the top dog Kansas City Chiefs have issues that run deep, the AFC West has some openings for the Silver and Black beyond last place. This isn’t to imply the Raiders are on deck to win the division, but they may not be so easily slated to finish last again either.
With new general manager Mike Mayock, the Raiders may be in a position to threaten not to finish at the bottom. The Denver Broncos will turn to a retread in veteran quarterback Joe Flacco and the Los Angeles Chargers have an aging Philip Rivers. The Chiefs may have the best young quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, but it’s no sure bet they will continue in the fashion they finished last season.
All in all, the AFC West may not be up for grabs as the Chiefs may be the early favorite. But that may be where the conventional wisdom ends. Oakland, Denver and the Chargers won’t be teams to sleep on, meaning last place won’t necessarily be where the Raiders end up 2019.