With the NFL Draft now wrapped up, it’s clear that the Las Vegas Raiders have embraced youth on the offensive line. Gone are Trent Brown, Gabe Jackson and Rodney Hudson as the team starts a rookie at right tackle in Alex Leatherwood and a player with one start at center in Andre James. The team has also decided to add a few other youthful pieces on the offensive line.
One of the most intriguing moves Las Vegas has made is the signing of Devery Hamilton out of Duke.
— Steve Caric (@Caricsportsmgt) May 2, 2021
The undrafted free agent is a massive young man as he checks in at 6-foot-9 and 310 pounds. Notably, Hamilton is even taller than former Raiders right tackle Trent Brown, who is 6-foot-8. The team loves to have massive tackles as Kolton Miller is also 6-foot-9. The strategy of targeting tall tackles has worked out decently well for Las Vegas. With a lot of opportunity on the offensive line, Hamilton will have a good shot at making the team if he can perform in training camp.
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Duke Coach Was High on Hamilton
Hamilton has the size the Raiders want from a tackle but can he play? According to his college coach, he’s got a ton of potential to be a good NFL player.
“Devery is a strong, lengthy player,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe last season, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “He’s the body type everybody is looking for at tackle. I thought he got better every game this year. I think his upside is tremendous. He’s a high character youngster. Very smart.”
Andre James is the projected starter at center for the team and he came into the league as an undrafted free agent. Offensive line coach Tom Cable has shown that he is very skilled at developing young linemen. The hope is that Kolton Miller and Alex Leatherwood will be the starting tackles for the next decade but if Hamilton can develop into a solid depth piece, the Raiders will be very happy about that.
Raiders OL Is Team’s Biggest Wild Card
Heading into the 2021 season, the Raiders appear to have greatly improved their defense. They got a legit pass rusher in Yannick Ngakoue, an exciting young safety in Trevon Moehrig and a former Pro Bowl cornerback in Casey Hayward. Plus, they got a major upgrade at defensive coordinator in Gus Bradley. The Raiders’ defense will not be as big of an issue in 2021 barring major injury issues.
The biggest question mark surrounding the team is going to be the offensive line. They are set at left tackle and both guard spots with Miller, Richie Incognito and Denzelle Good. Those three are solid veterans who have proven that they can play at a high level in this offense. However, there’s no way to know how James or Leatherwood will perform. Those two could make or break the offense. The Raiders seem to be confident that both men will thrive but they are replacing Pro Bowl players. It’s fair to worry that the team has downgraded at both center and right tackle, which could cause issues early in the season.
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