It appears that several young players will play extensively again as Raiders’ coach Jon Gruden and his staff figures out who can be counted on in 2021. Here is a look at five young players that have a chance to show the team they can be counted on this season.
The third-round pick has a big opportunity, but he also doesn’t have much time. The offseason and much of training camp has been robbed of the Virginia Tech product with an injury but it looks like he will play this week. With a lot of injuries at linebacker, Deablo (who is a converted college safety) will have a chance. But is it realistic for a player making a position move who has missed so much time to be continued with early in the season? If Deablo isn’t fully healthy, I wouldn’t be shocked if he is put on the injured reserve for at least part of his rookie season.
The fourth-round pick has had his moments and the Raiders feel like he can be a solid player. With Karl Joseph out injured, Gillespie has had a chance for more reps so he should play a lot against San Francisco. It is a chance for him to show he can be a key special teams player right away and be a reliable backup as a rookie.
Muse is a lot like Deablo. He was a third-round pick in 2020 and converted to linebacker after being a safety at Clemson. He was also injured in training camp as a rookie and missed his entire rookie season with a toe injury. He flashed at outside linebacker earlier in training camp — and with all the other injuries, he has a real chance to be a base outside linebacker Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens. So if Muse can boost the confidence of the coaching staff in this game, it would help his cause.
Parker has been getting some praise for his preseason work and he will likely make the roster as a backup. A big reason why is the Raiders are pretty thin at backup tackle. If he can have a good finish to the preseason, Parker may keep the Raiders from looking for waiver-wire help at the position.
The 2020 fourth-round pick has become more of a factor at outside cornerback than nickel cornerback, where he was drafted to play. He’s been pretty decent but he needs to finish strong. I would think Robertson is safe to make the roster. However, the cornerback room is deep, so he could use a strong finish to lock down his spot on the 53-man roster on Tuesday.