According to Pro Football Focus, the Raiders had the sixth best offensive line in the NFL last year. Center Rodney Hudson did miss time but even when he did, right guard was the only weak spot. Gabe Jackson has since been moved to right guard to make room for Kelechi Osemele at left guard.
And that led Pro Football Focus to take the Raiders’ offensive line ranking up to No. 2 in the NFL. But after two weeks in camp, 2013 second-round pick Menelik Watson has the lead on Austin Howard, a strength on the Raiders offensive line last year.
They did the same thing last year, even though Howard was outplaying Watson in preseaon games. Howard got the right tackle job when Watson went down with a torn Achilles. And he went on to be the 15th highest rated tackle according to Pro Football Focus.
Howard ended up tearing his ACL later in the season so he and Watson are coming off injuries. I thought Howard played well enough last year to earn returning starter status but afterall, Watson is a second-round pick. This is one of the better battles to pay attention to right now.