After receiving some surprising returns up front last season, the Raiders largely stood pat this year. Only Greg Van Roten arrived as a notable free agent along the offensive line. No draft choices were allocated to the position.
The Raiders do, however, look to be strongly considering an internal shakeup. Thayer Munford has taken most of the team’s first-string right tackle reps during training camp, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore notes the Raiders are confident the 2022 seventh-round pick is ready for a bigger role.
Jermaine Eluemunor primarily manned that position last season, and the veteran resides as one of many ex-Patriots on Josh McDaniels‘ roster. Eluemunor has extensive guard experience as well, having played there for the Raiders in 2021. A potential move back inside has been on the Raiders’ radar for a bit now, and the team has a potential opening there. Incumbent Alex Bars, who rated as one of Pro Football Focus’ worst guards in 2022, has been taking most of the first-team reps during camp, per Bonsignore. Van Roten, whom the Raiders signed after the draft, has not seen many first-team cameos.
The Raiders re-signed Eluemunor to a one-year, $3MM deal in March. He has started 20 games since coming to Las Vegas, including all 17 last season. The seventh-year veteran, who played for McDaniels in New England from 2019-20, could serve as a swingman as well. This would give the Raiders some proven depth, as Eluemunor has started 31 career games, provided Munford is truly ready to move into the starting lineup.
Pro Football Focus viewed Eluemunor’s work fondly last season, rating him 21st among tackles; the advanced metrics site slotted Munford 52nd. But the team was high on the Day 3 pick’s progress before his rookie year. Munford played 370 offensive snaps as a rookie. Munford saw time at right tackle, left tackle and left guard at Ohio State, a program that has certainly seen its share of O-linemen make their way into the NFL in recent years. Enough improvement between Year 1 and Year 2 looks like it would trigger a lineup change in Vegas.
After rotating O-linemen during camp last year, the Raiders are sticking with their front five in this year’s camp. Munford and Bars have joined Kolton Miller, Dylan Parham and Andre James on the first-unit line. PFF ranked the Raiders’ line 10th last season, as it helped Josh Jacobs win the rushing title. Observing how they construct the right side of this year’s O-line, as the injury-prone Jimmy Garoppolo is now in place at quarterback, will be a storyline worth following in Vegas. A Bars-Munford right side would be light on experience, but Eluemunor and Van Roten also provide experienced depth — in the event the former Buckeyes blocker seizes the RT job.