NFL Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders’ 5 Biggest Red Flags Heading into 2014

5 Red Flags the Raiders Must Address

Denarius Moore
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

As much as their fans would like to believe they’re contenders in 2014, the Oakland Raiders still have a long way to go before they can even sniff the playoffs. They upgraded the roster via free agency and the draft, but also lost some significant players and still face numerous unanswered questions.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the Raiders’ five biggest red flags as training camp looms just around the corner.

5. D.J. Hayden is still a big question mark

D.J. Hayden
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

5. D.J. Hayden is still a big question mark

D.J. Hayden
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hesitant play and injuries marred Hayden’s rookie season with the Raiders, but expectations were sky-high heading into 2014 that the former first-round pick could finally deliver. Unfortunately, the sophomore cornerback is already hurt again and won’t be back until training camp. If Hayden struggles to stay healthy throughout the 2014 campaign, his NFL outlook might deteriorate in a hurry.

4. Khalil Mack could be the Raiders’ best defender

Khalil Mack
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. Khalil Mack could be the Raiders’ best defender

Khalil Mack
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While it’s certainly a good thing that the Raiders drafted a likely stud, the fact that Mack could be their best defender doesn’t bode well for their overall defensive outlook. The 2014 first-round pick is an elite talent with the experience and polish to start from Day 1, but will certainly suffer from a few growing pains. Despite that fact, he’s likely the best defensive player in Oakland, which means the surrounding talent is subpar.

3. Derek Carr is already pushing Matt Schaub

Derek Carr
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. Derek Carr is already pushing Matt Schaub

Derek Carr
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s obvious that Carr is the Raiders’ quarterback of the future, and that’s fine. The problem lies in the fact that he’s already pushing Schaub for the starting job even though Oakland was set on letting him sit out his rookie season. It also doesn’t reflect well on Schaub’s 2014 outlook, especially with him coming off a career-worst year. The hope is Schaub fends Carr off during training camp, but that seems unlikely at this point.

2. There’s no Lamarr Houston anymore

Lamarr Houston
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

2. There’s no Lamarr Houston anymore

Lamarr Houston
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Despite considerable efforts, the Raiders weren’t able to coax Houston into staying in Oakland this offseason. Instead, he bailed via free agency, which forced the Raiders to sign aging veterans Lamarr Woodley and Justin Tuck. While both are certainly capable of contributing this season, neither is going to make the type of impact Houston did. Where is the production going to come from for the Raiders?

1. The Raiders still don’t have a clear No. 1 WR

Denarius Moore
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Raiders still don’t have a clear No. 1 WR

Denarius Moore
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Denarius Moore has all of the talent to be a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL. Unfortunately, inconsistency and unreliability have hindered his progress to the point where the Raiders are considering trading him away before the regular season. James Jones is a solid receiver as well, but is better suited in a complementary role. Will any of the Raiders’ receivers emerge as a go-to target in 2014?

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Director of Content for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.