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Raiders 2016 training camp preview: Roster locks, bubble watch

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With the Raiders reporting for training camp tomorrow, we look at those players who are a lock, and those who are hanging around the bubble

We are now a day away from the Raiders reporting to Napa for training camp. The rookies and select players arrived for pre-camp warm-up earlier this week and the rest of the team arrives tomorrow. From the moment many of those players take the field, more than half of them will be in a fierce battle for a roster spot.

Here are those players who are locks, best bets and on the bubble.

Offense

Locks:

QB Derek Carr, RB Latavius Murray, WR Amari Cooper, WR Michael Crabtree, TE Clive Walford, LT Donald Penn, LG Kelechi Osemele, C Rodney Hudson, RG Gabe Jackson

Best bets:

QB Matt McGloin, QB Connor Cook, RB DeAndre Washington, FB Jamize Olawale , WR Seth Roberts, TE Lee Smith, RT Menelik Watson, RT Austin Howard

On the bubble:

Taiwan Jones – He must continue to show he is the team’s best option in three phases – as a back out of the spread, as a gunner, and as a kick returner.

Marcel Reece – Being suspended the first three games may actually work in his favor. The team will have time to either work out who they can afford to cut when Reece returns, or decide whether they truly miss his presence in the offense.

Roy Helu, Jr. – Saying he’s on the bubble may be generous. He’s only still here because injuries kept the team from cutting him before his 2016 salary was guaranteed. He has been placed on PUP to begin camp. When/if he passes a physical, they could keep him for camp or just cut ties with him at that time.

Andre Holmes – He’s still here because the team has no other receiver like him. His height and length make him a mismatch on jump balls, while his instincts and hands aren’t quite up to par. The Raiders let him test free agency before bringing him back, so unless Holmes finds something extra, the team could look to upgrade from him.

Joe Hansley, Max McCaffrey, Jaydon Mickens – These three undrafted rookies are the favorites for the fifth and likely final wide receiver spot on the team. Right now Hansley looks to have moved inside the bubble, but a lot could change during camp to shift this order around.

Mychal Rivera, Gabe Holmes – Rivera is entering the final season of his rookie contract. Holmes is entering his second camp after impressing coaches last year. It’s not out of the realm of possibility the team keeps both, but they would both have to really show up in camp that that to happen.

Matt McCants, Vadal Alexander – McCants and Alexander can both play tackle or guard. It’s a tough call between them. McCants has more experience and has backed up every positions but center. Alexander is a rookie draft pick which could offer him some time to develop. Though he will be starting camp on the Non-football injury list, which isn’t good news for his hopes to compete for this spot. Do they keep both perhaps? Very possible.

Jon Feliciano – With the addition of Kelechi Osemele, Feliciano’s chances of being a starter just went out the door. The Raiders have been trying him as the backup center as well as guard, hoping he can fill that role. If he struggles, there are two undrafted rookies in Oni Omoile and Ross Burbank who would love that job.

Continue to the Defense, Special teams