Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly at training camp 2011 (photo by Levi Damien)
In the coming weeks the Raiders will enter their offseason OTA's and minicamp practices. The rosters are big at the moment and it can be difficult to keep track of all the players and where they fit into the puzzle. So it can be useful to go position by position and get a handle on exactly who the Raiders have and where they fit into the scheme of things.
At defensive tackle, the Raiders are solid with starters Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly. But the team will begin trying to get younger behind them starting immediately. Seymour is 32 and Kelly is 31 and both are nearing the twilight of their careers. And I don't mean a phase when they are suddenly really into teenage vampire books.
The team released John Henderson who may be ready for retirement and will need someone else to step in and take his place as a situational player in the defensive tackle rotation. Desmond Bryant is a defensive tackle by trade but has been playing more at defensive end these days. After that, there are no returning defensive tackles from last year's roster.
Getting the call to try to make the roster are last year's practice squad players Travis Ivey and Jamie Cumbie. Joining them is Raiders round six pick Christo Bilukidi and undrafted free agent signee Dominique Hamilton.
Here is the Raiders defensive tackle depth chart as the team heads into OTA's:
1. Richard Seymour- The lone Pro Bowler on the Raiders defense from last season. He is the leader of this defense, if not the team as a whole and the unquestioned starter at 3-technique defensive tackle.
2. Tommy Kelly- Starts alongside Seymour and the two player extremely well together. Dennis Allen also said that in a 3-4 set, Kelly would be the starting nose tackle.
3. Desmond Bryant- Yes, he was on the defensive end depth chart as well but he will be depth at both positions and fill in as a starter for whichever position is in need.
4. Travis Ivey- The only true nose tackle on this team. If he can show some skill to match his bulk, he could be very valuable in 3-4 sets.
5. Christo Bilukidi- Played defensive end in college and the Raiders have said they would like to move him inside. He would back up Seymour at 3-tech as well.
6. Jamie Cumbie- Showed a lot of power as a defensive tackle in camp last year but was sloppy. If he can clean up his technique, he could make the team but it is a long shot.
7. Dominique Hamilton- He goes by @Underrated_Dom on Twitter. No team in the NFL drafted him so he may be onto something there. If he can prove his twitter handle correct, he could prove to be quite a find. He has loads of potential.