Breaking Down Oakland Raiders' 2-Deep Depth Chart at the Start of Training Camp
As the Oakland Raiders open up their 2013 training camp, their roster continues to take shape for the season.
While there are still some question marks at certain positions and plenty of competition to be had, the starters can be forecast already.
At this point, despite some key offseason losses, this Raiders look to be much improved at some key positions. Also, there is upgraded depth in areas where the team has struggled to be consistent as of late.
Let's take a look at the Oakland Raiders’ two-deep depth chart at the start of their 2013 training camp.
1. Matt Flynn
2. Terrelle Pryor
Right from the beginning of camp, the starting quarterback position will be Matt Flynn’s to lose. Having said that, the talent that sits behind him on the depth chart cannot be ignored.
Both Terrelle Pryor and rookie Tyler Wilson will be given ample opportunities to show what they have throughout the preseason, and they could push Flynn at some point.
1. Darren McFadden
2. Latavius Murray
Darren McFadden heads into the season as the Raiders’ starting running back, and if he can stay healthy, he should have no problem bouncing back from a difficult 2012 campaign.
Both rookie Latavius Murray and Rashad Jennings will compete for the primary backup role, but the young rookie’s rare combination of impressive size and speed should win him the job.
1. Marcel Reece
2. Jamize Olawale
Marcel Reece is the most versatile fullback in the NFL and one of the few game changers at the position.
With his ability to line up as either a deep back or outside receiver, the Raiders could choose to keep a second fullback on the final 53-man roster. In which case, that would be Jamize Olawale.
1. Denarius Moore
2. Rod Streater
3. Jacoby Ford
4. Juron Criner
The Raiders need at least one of their young receivers to become a dependable target for Matt Flynn. At this point, the two most likely to do so and thus win the starting jobs are Denarius Moore and Rod Streater.
Behind them, Jacoby Ford, Juron Criner and any of the other receivers on the training camp roster will have a chance to earn significant roles. As such, this should be one of the more interesting position battles to watch throughout camp.
1. David Ausberry
2. Nick Kasa
Tight end is a position of many question marks for the Raiders heading into camp. Much like the wide receiver spot, they will be counting on one of their young players to perform right away.
With several years of experience under his belt, David Ausberry holds the early advantage for the starting job, but sixth-round rookies Nick Kasa and Mychal Rivera will push for playing time early on.
Whoever wins the starting job, the Raiders will need him to replace the production lost when Brandon Myers departed in free agency.
1. Jared Veldheer
2. Alex Barron
Jared Veldheer is one of the best all-around young tackles in the NFL and will be back as the starter for the Raiders in 2013. He is currently in a contract year, and the Raiders should make a point of locking him up to a long-term deal sooner rather than later.
Behind Veldheer, the depth is questionable, as Alex Barron isn’t even a lock to make the final roster.
1. Tony Bergstrom
2. Lucas Nix
Although he was drafted to be part of the since scrapped zone-blocking scheme of 2012, Tony Bergstrom will have his shot to win a starting job with the silver and black this season.
Lucas Nix should also push for this job, especially considering his solid play in limited reps down the stretch last season.
1. Stefen Wisniewski
2. Alex Parsons
Stefen Wisniewski will start at center, as he continues to grow into one of the league’s best young interior linemen. Heading into this season fully healthy will go a long way to avoiding the slow start he had in 2012.
Alex Parsons is a solid backup to have at both center and guard, and he has stepped in nicely when called upon.
1. Mike Brisiel
2. Lucas Nix
Mike Brisiel, another player brought in specifically to be part of the zone-blocking scheme, remains the likely starter in 2013.
Despite his restructured contract, Brisiel should be challenged for playing time early on, and Lucas Nix should be the one to do it.
1. Khalif Barnes
2. Menelik Watson
Back with the Raiders on a one-year contract, veteran Khalif Barnes will have the early advantage for the right tackle job in 2013. The switch back to a power-blocking run game should help him as much as any lineman on the roster.
Having said that, second-round draft pick Menelik Watson will challenge Barnes for the starting position at some point. The sooner that comes, the better it will be for the Raiders, as Watson winning that role could allow the Raiders to start Barnes inside at guard.
Left Defensive End
1. Lamarr Houston
2. Jack Crawford
Lamarr Houston returns as the starter at left end, but as the Raiders’ best lineman, he should see plenty of time at a variety of positions across the defensive front.
Behind Houston, the Raiders do not yet know what they have in second-year player Jack Crawford. He and the rest of the reserve linemen will have to contribute quite a bit for this defensive line to exceed expectations overall.
Right Defensive End
1. Andre Carter
2. Jason Hunter
The return of veteran Andre Carter was a big yet underrated move for the Raiders this offseason. While he got off to a slow start due to injury recovery in 2012, he was the team’s most productive pass-rusher by year’s end.
Behind Carter, both Jason Hunter and seventh-round draft pick David Bass should see significant snaps. If the Raiders are to have any kind of pass rush, all three will have to produce.
1. Vance Walker
2. Pat Sims
3. Christo Bilukidi
4. Stacy McGee
The offseason departures of Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly and Desmond Bryant were big losses for the Raiders at defensive tackle, but given the recent struggles defending the run, it was time for a change anyway.
Starters Vance Walker and Pat Sims should provide a significant upgrade in that area, but the depth behind them is questionable at best. Both Christo Bilukidi and Stacy McGee are unproven, so expect the Raiders to add another defensive tackle or two during the preseason.
1. Kevin Burnett
2. Miles Burris
Kevin Burnett has been an underrated linebacker in recent seasons, and he thrived as a 4-3 outside linebacker in Miami last year. Taking on the same role with the Raiders, he should be one of their defensive leaders.
The Burnett signing also pushes Miles Burris to a reserve/special teams role, thus improving the depth in the linebacker corps in the process.
1. Nick Roach
2. Kaluka Maiava
Free-agent acquisition Nick Roach will start at middle linebacker and should provide a more balanced defensive game than the Raiders have had inside for some time.
As the Raiders do not currently have another middle linebacker on the roster, Kaluka Maiava would likely be penciled in as Roach’s backup. While Maiava is capable of playing inside, expect the Raiders to add a middle linebacker once camp gets under way and keep him as a backup outside.
1. Sio Moore
2. Kaluka Maiava
The selection of Sio Moore in the third round could turn out to be one of the Raiders’ best choices of the draft. He brings value not only as an early-down outside linebacker but as a nickel pass-rusher as well.
Prior to Moore’s selection, Kaluka Maiava was the likely starter here. Now, taking on a reserve and special teams role, he is another player who contributes to making the linebacker position one of the deepest on this team.
1. D.J. Hayden
2. Tracy Porter
3. Mike Jenkins
4. Phillip Adams
Heading into the offseason, cornerback was arguably the Raiders’ biggest position of need. Now, with some draft and free-agent additions, it is relatively deep in comparison.
If healthy, D.J. Hayden should be able to win one of the two starting roles, with Tracy Porter likely to win the other.
However, with so many players competing for spots, this will be another of the most intriguing position battles to watch throughout camp.
1. Tyvon Branch
2. Usama Young
Tyvon Branch returns as the starting strong safety, and with as many upgrades as the Raiders have made around him in the back seven, he could be in line for his most productive season as a pro.
With the Charles Woodson signing, Usama Young will take on a third safety/reserve role in the secondary. Having a player of his ability to step in at either position and contribute on special teams provides important depth that the Raiders have lacked in recent years.
1. Charles Woodson
2. Brandian Ross
Charles Woodson is the most talked about Raiders’ signing of the offseason and for good reason. While he is getting closer to the end of his career, he can still play at high level on the back end and provide important leadership on a young team.
Brandian Ross, making the switch from cornerback to free safety, will likely be the fourth safety on the roster. His coverage potential makes him an ideal player to develop for the future while he contributes on special teams in the meantime.