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Projected Raiders starters post-53-man roster release

Early look at the depth chart

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Las Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos
Davante Adams
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Cutdown day has come and gone and now that the Las Vegas Raiders have their 53-man roster—technically 54-man—set, their attention turns to September 10 as the Raiders take on AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos.

While we have less than two weeks before the season opener, let’s take a look at who the Raiders projected starters are for Week 1.


Starter: Jimmy Garoppolo

Backups: Brian Hoyer and Aidan O’Connell

There are no surprises here, Garoppolo is the starter and it’s just a matter of how many games he can stay healthy for. On that note, I heard a good theory on why the Raiders kept Hoyer around—besides the new third quarterback rule—on The Athletic’s State of the Nation Podcast.

I believe it was Ted Nguyen who mentioned that the coaching staff might want a veteran quarterback to take over mid-game if Jimmy G goes down so that they don’t have to throw O’Connell into the fire. Then, if Garoppolo has to miss a week, the rookie can have a full week of practice to prepare for his first start. I’m not sure if that’s what Josh McDaniels and company are thinking, but that logic makes sense to me.

Running Back/Fullback

Starters: Josh Jacobs and Jakob Johnson

Backups: Zamir White, Ameer Abdullah and Brandon Bolden

The big question here is, ‘How long will it take Jacobs to get back up to speed?’ He’s a veteran and is playing in the same system as last year, so the playbook shouldn’t be much of an issue and it’s more about his conditioning than anything else. Regardless, I still expect Las Vegas to give White more touches this year to help him develop and/or gauge the need at the position in the offseason in case Jacobs doesn’t return in 2024.

Wide Receiver

Starters: Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Renfrow

Backups: DeAndre Carter, Tre Tucker and Kristian Wilkerson

Besides maybe the Cowboys and Bengals, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better trio of wideouts than what the Raiders have. It will be interesting to see how Meyers and Renfrow work together seeing as both have been at their best when operating out of the slot.

However, Meyers has been good as a ‘Z-receiver’ as well and McDaniels has experience balancing the workload between two inside receivers dating back to his Patriots days with Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman.

Tight End

Starter: Austin Hooper

Backups: Michael Mayer and Jesper Horsted

After watching Mayer’s preseason tape, he still has a lot of work to do as a blocker to earn the starting spot, but he can still make an impact as a pass-catcher. Hooper is the best blocker of the crew but is coming off a campaign where he earned a 46.7 PFF grade in that department, so he still isn’t the ideal player for that role either. Fullback Jakob Johnson might take on some of those responsibilities early in the season.

Offensive line

Staters: Kolton Miller (LT), Dylan Parham (LG), Andre James (C), Greg Van Roten (RG) and Jermaine Eluemunor (RT)

Backups: Jordan Meredith (G/C), Thayer Munford (G/T) and Justin Herron (T)

The battle between Eluemunor and Munford for the starting right tackle spot is still very much alive and we likely won’t know the winner until the season opener. Against the Rams, Munford did take the first-string snaps on the right side while Eluemunor was on the left. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the latter is the Week 1 starter since he’s better in pass protection which is especially important given Garoppolo’s injury history.


Las Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos
Maxx Crosby
Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Starters: Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones

Backups: Tyree Wilson and Malcolm Koonce

Jones is 33 years old and might end up splitting reps with Wilson down the line, but the rookie’s pre-existing injury that kept him sidelined for a lot of training camp could limit his playing time early in the season. Meanwhile, Crosby continues his mission to become one of the league's best pass-rushers, and Koonce will likely serve as the team’s third-down rusher and play a role on special teams.

Defensive Tackle

Starters: Bilal Nichols and John Jenkins

Backups: Jerry Tillery, Adam Butler, Byron Young and Nesta Jade Silvera currently has Nichols and Tillery as Las Vegas’ starters, but neither of them can play against the run while Jenkins proved to be a big-bodied space-eater during the preseason. Tillery should factor into the rotation as a pass-rusher though, and then it’s just a matter of how quickly the two rookies can catch on.


Starters: Divine Deablo and Robert Spillane

Backups: Luke Masterson, Amari Burney Curtis Bolton

Deablo enters year three which will be a pivotal season for him, especially seeing as he’s likely wearing the green dot to start the campaign. After making a few spot starts over the last four years for the Steelers, Spillane steps into the biggest opportunity of his career but will have to replace Denzel Perryman as the top run defender in the position group. Masterson showed growth during the preseason and could be a sneaky candidate to replace one of the two starters down the line if either of them starts struggling.


Starters: Marcus Peters, Nate Hobbs and Jakorian Bennett

Backups: Brandon Facyson, David Long Jr. and Amik Robertson

Peters and Hobbs are locked in as starters but there is some ambiguity with Bennett. The Maryland product suffered an injury in training camp that caused him to miss the team’s final two preseason games and the last week of practice. So, Bennett’s health will be something to monitor over the next couple of weeks, and Long Jr. would likely fill in if Bennett can’t go. Also, Facyson is another option as a starter, but he did miss the majority of camp with an injury.


Starters: Tre’von Moehrig and Marcus Epps

Backups: Roderic Teamer, Isaiah Pola-Mao and Chris Smith II

This season is all about bouncing back for Moehrig after he shined as a rookie and struggled in year two, his first season playing for defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. Meanwhile, Epps comes over from Philadelphia and brings some Super Bowl experience to the city where this year’s championship game will be played. The Raiders’ depth at safety is interesting though as Teamer has primarily been a special teams player during his career while Pola-Mao and Smith II are still getting their feet wet in the NFL.