Preseason is over. The 53-man rosters are out. The NFL regular season starts in two days for some teams. For the Raiders is less than a week away. For all NFL teams, it’s the first official game week of the 2019 season. And with that, we have our first 2019 Raiders regular season depth chart.
Keep in mind, these are more projections than anything. They are not put out by the coaches, so they are not set in stone.
1. At wide receiver, Hunter Renfrow is listed ahead of Ryan Grant. Renfrow is the team’s fifth round rookie out of Clemson who will line up in the slot. Grant is also a slot receiver who stood out in the preseason and saw time in games earlier than Renfrow suggesting the veteran had moved ahead of him on the depth chart.
3. Jordan Devey is listed as the starter at left guard for the first two games while Richie Incognito is serving his suspension. Gruden said this week there is battle between he and Jonathan Cooper for that job. The loser, will be the reserve interior lineman. Devey is also the backup center ahead of Andre James, but it Devey starts, James could be active as well just in case.
5. Arden Key is listed as a starting defensive end with Josh Mauro backing up Clelin Ferrell. Mauro has been a starter opposite Ferrell all offseason, but Key has showed up well in preseason. Might he have earned the starting job back? Alternately, perhaps Ferrell hasn’t shown enough as a pass rusher and the Raiders want to make sure they have at least one pass rusher on the field and Key is their best option for that.
7. Nicholas Morrow is the starting weak side linebacker with Brandon Marshall cut. The Raiders only kept five linebackers, figuring three of them will play a lot of special teams and the defense will line up with only two linebackers the majority of the time.
8. The lack of linebackers is part of the same puzzle that has Lamarcus Joyner listed as the starting free safety ahead of Johnathan Abram. In reality Abram will start and Joyner will as well most of the time because you can figure they will play their nickel defense (five defensive backs) somewhere close to 70% of the time.
9. Dwayne Harris once again gets both the punt and kick return jobs. He is just too smart not to have back there. Even if he won’t often wow you with his quickness, he will make the right decisions and can break off a nice return or two each game as well.
10. If Hunter Renfrow starts as a slot receiver, and you consider punter a starting position, the Raiders will start six rookies.