We are exactly three weeks until the first players hit the practice field in Napa for training camp. We’ve spent the past couple weeks breaking down each of the Raiders positions and gauging where they are heading into camp. Here’s what those position look like from the strongest to the weakest.
Starter: Rodney Hudson
Key reserve: Jon Feliciano
Fan poll result: Strong (92%)
Notes: One of the best centers in the league with a solid backup. Easy
Starters: Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson
Key reserves: Jon Feliciano, Denver Kirkland
Fan poll results: Strong (90%)
Notes: One of the best guard combos in the league. Some versatility in the depth which is important.
Starters: Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin
Key reserves: Tank Carradine, Arden Key
Fan poll results: Strong (58%)
Notes: Some disagreement in where the edge rusher position should be ranked. Understandable when you have the league’s best pass rusher and a pretty good pass rusher across from him. Fair enough. This is right where this position would be ranked regardless.
Starters: Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson
Backups: Martavis Bryant, Ryan Switzer, Seth Roberts, Johnny Holton
Fan poll results: Strong (49%), Stable (44%)
Notes: Coop’s gotta find the next level before I consider this position strong. But it’s a good looking group.
Starters: Marshawn Lynch, Keith Smith (FB)
Key reserves: Doug Martin, Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington
Fan poll results: Stable (58%), Strong (28%)
Notes: Marshawn finished out last season like Beast Mode, but who knows what the Raiders will get from everyone else.
Starter: Derek Carr
Depth: EJ Manuel, Connor Cook
Fan poll results: Stable (62%), Strong (27%)
Notes: You figure Carr will rebound from last season. But will he show immediate positive results Gruden’s complex offense?
Starters: Jared Cook, Lee Smith
Key reserve: Derek Carrier
Fan poll results: Stable (69%), Strong (23%)
Notes: Cook led the team in receiving last season and Smith is a tough blocker. Can Carrier be what Clive Walford wasn’t?
Starters: Justin Ellis, Mario Edwards Jr
Key reserves: Maurice Hurst (R), Frostee Rucker, Treyvon Hester, Eddie Vanderdoes, PJ Hall (R), Ahtyba Rubin
Fan poll results: Stable (51%)
Notes: I am assuming the Stable designation comes mainly from the additions of Hurst. I tend to be less certain about what to expect from rookies.
Starters: Donald Penn, Breno Giacomini
Key reserves: Kolton Miller (R), Brandon Parker (R), David Sharpe
Fan poll results: Stable (39%), Unstable (38%)
Notes: With a right tackle who gave up a league leading 81 pressures and a couple of rookie projects, there is no way this position is stable. Too many unknowns.
Starters: Gareon Conley, Rashaan Melvin
Key reserves: Daryl Worley, Leon Hall, Shareece Wright, Nick Nelson (R)
Fan poll results: Unstable (44%), Stable (37%)
Notes: Complete overhaul of this unit leaves high hopes but many uncertainties.
Starters: Reggie Nelson, Karl Joseph
Key reserves: Marcus Gilchrist, Erik Harris, Obi Melifonwu, Shalom Luani
Fan poll results: Unstable (44%), Stable (32%)
Notes: Obi was the key to the condition of this group and he’s fallen behind in his second year.
Starters: Derrick Johnson, Tahir Whitehead, Emmanuel Lamur
Key reserves: Kyle Wilber, Nicholas Morrow, Marquel Lee
Fan poll results: Unstable (40%), Serious (22%), Critical (22%)
Notes: Whitehead was a good addition. Not much else looks promising. Probably why 44% of you said Serious or worse.