The Raiders have invested heavily into their offensive line, paying premiums for Right Tackle Trent Brown ($15.25 Million) and recently extended Center Rodney Hudson ($10 Million) while selecting Left Tackle Kolton Miller with the No. 15 overall pick in 2018.
Yet, with Gabe Jackson rehabbing from an injury to his left MCL and Richie Incognito set to serve a two-game suspension, both of the Raiders guard spots are fully in flux heading into the regular season.
Conventional wisdom suggested that former first-round pick Jonathan Cooper would seize one of those starting spots, but Denzelle Good has overtaken him in head coach Jon Gruden’s eyes, and it appears Jordan Devey has too.
“I don’t know yet,” Gruden said when asked if Cooper will start at left guard. “We’ll see how this week goes. He’s in contention. He and Jordan Devey will battle that out.”
If Cooper and Devey truly are expected to compete at practice this week for a chance to start in the season opener against the Broncos, that isn’t a good sign heading into a game against a division foe with a dominant defensive line.
The Raiders are the seventh team Cooper has apparently underwhelmed since being drafted seventh-overall in 2013 by the Cardinals. After losing his starting job to Ted Larsen in 2015, Arizona off-loaded the former North Carolina Tar Heel to New England as part of the Chandler Jones trade. He would never play in a game for the Patriots, however, and was released after four inactive 2016 games.
Since then, Cooper has played for the Browns, Cowboys, 49ers, and Redskins before signing with the Raiders in July.
With Jackson and Incognito shelved to start the season, it seemed that a fresh start in Oakland could propel Cooper from former bust to veteran contributor. But if Devey and Good are both expected to start over him, Cooper could be cut soon after the Raiders intended starters return.