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2016 Raiders depth chart breakdown, 53-man roster projection, position battles: Safety

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In the ninth installment of this series, we look at the safeties and add them to those we see making the final 53.

The 4th of July holiday weekend is upon us. And to send you off into your weekend right, we finish out the defense with the safeties. This group, like the corners, will begin this season with two new starters and a previous starter who will now be a backup.

Starters

Reggie Nelson – 10th year

Karl Joseph – Rookie (D-1)

Just like the cornerbacks, the Raiders have two new starting safeties. Charles Woodson has retired. Replacing him is Nelson who led the league with 8 interceptions last season. Safety is also where the Raiders went with their top pick in the draft, selecting Joseph at 14 overall. A nice mixture of longtime veteran and top pick rookie.

Reserves

Nate Allen – 7th year

Keith McGill – 3rd year

Brynden Trawick – 4th year

Allen was the starter to begin last season. Then he was injured in the opener and was placed on IR with designation to return. When he returned, he started four games and was injured again in the fourth game and once again placed on injured reserve, ending his season. He cut before his 2016 salary became guaranteed and re-signed on a one-year deal. McGill is being transitioned to safety where he played much of his college career. Trawick was signed this offseason as a special teams player.

Position battle

Nate Allen vs Keith McGill

Following a career year with the Eagles in 2014, Allen was signed by the Raiders to a 4-year deal last offseason and inserted as the starter. His injuries tripped up his plans and now he must earn his way back. He could see time in nickel and dime packages, but so could McGill, who has experience at both corner and safety. As the team’s fourth round pick in 2014, McGill will be given every opportunity to make his transition to safety. The 6-3, 211-pounder has played primarily at strong safety this offseason as has Allen.

Bubble watch

Dewey McDonald – 2nd year

With both Reggie Nelson and Karl Joseph not practicing this offseason, McDonald has been getting some increased reps, even working with the first team at times. The former undrafted safety out of California PA is entering his third season, but is still technically a 2nd year player. After appearing in 12 games for the Colts as a rookie, he bounced around to three different teams last season, the Raiders being his final stop where he appeared in one game. It’s clear the Raiders are giving him a shot, but he would have to beat out some players who have the benefit of either being drafted or coming in with more experience.

Practice squad

Jimmy Hall – 2nd year

A converted linebacker who the team is trying out at safety. He is a tweener at 6-1, 230 pounds and if he can successfully make the transition his special teams work could keep him around.

The rest

Chris Hackett – 1st year

Chris Edwards – Rookie (UDFA)

53-man roster projection (50/53)

Quarterbacks (3)

Derek Carr

Matt McGloin

Connor Cook

Running backs (4)

Latavius Murray

DeAndre Washington

Jamize Olawale

Taiwan Jones

Wide receivers (5)

Amari Cooper

Michael Crabtree

Seth Roberts

Andre Holmes

Joe Hansley

Tight end (3)

Clive Walford

Lee Smith

Mychal Rivera

Offensive line (8)

Donald Penn

Kelechi Osemele

Rodney Hudson

Gabe Jackson

Menelik Watson

Austin Howard

Jon Feliciano

Vadal Alexander

Defensive line (8)

Dan Williams

Mario Edwards Jr

Denico Autry

Jihad Ward

Justin Ellis

Damontre Moore

Leon Orr

Stacy McGee

Linebackers (9)

Khalil Mack

Bruce Irvin

Malcolm Smith

Ben Heeney

Neiron Ball

Shilique Calhoun

James Cowser

Daren Bates

Korey Toomer

Cornerbacks (5)

David Amerson

Sean Smith

TJ Carrie

DJ Hayden

Neiko Thorpe

Safeties (5)

Reggie Nelson

Karl Joseph

Nate Allen

Keith McGill

Brynden Trawick

Bubble watch

RB Roy Helu Jr

TE Gabe Holmes

OL Matt McCants

CB Dexter McDonald

S Dewey McDonald

Practice squad (10/10)

RB Jalen Richard

WR Max McCaffrey

WR Jaydon Mickens

OL Denver Kirkland

OL Oni Omoile

DT Darius Latham

DE Greg Townsend Jr

LB Cory James

CB SaQwan Edwards

S Jimmy Hall