Today the Raiders released their updated depth chart going into their Week 1 meeting, and there are a few surprises in my mind. Take a look at the Raiders' depth chart here:
A few things stand out to me. Karl Joseph had been listed for most of the preseason as the starter and has gotten plenty of playing time, but is backing up Nate Allen going into the regular season. This may be because Nate Allen beat him out for the starting job, or the Raiders coaching staff simply wants to have more experience in the secondary going into a game where they know the Saints are going to air it out.
Either way, we know the Raiders like to rotate their secondary players and Joseph will get plenty of snaps in the game. He'll take over the starting job when he's ready. Joseph was expected to make a huge impact this season and he likely still will, but coming off a serious injury bringing him along slowly seems like a wise idea.
The only rookie who did crack the starting lineup is DE Jihad Ward, who should be playing the 3-tech. He's shown a lot of ability and promise this preseason and has to be licking his chops at the prospect of facing the Saints' offensive line. Khalil Mack is listed as the other DE, but with the Raiders playing a lot of 3-4 that means we'll see plenty of Denico Autry at end as well.
Most surprising to me on this chart is the placement of RB Taiwan Jones. I don't remember him doing anything this preseason, but he's listed as the second team running back and the starting kick returner. De'Andre Washington is listed as his primary backup in both of these roles, but I can't help but think Washington will get more playing time than Jones.
Finally, it appears Menelik Watson has officially won the right tackle battle and DJ Hayden is a primary slot corner. Maybe the 2013 Draft wasn't so bad after all?