Oakland Raiders: 5 Preseason Position Battles to Watch
Hue Jackson still has some very tough decisions to make this year at a couple of positions. Jackson is in his first year and Al Davis expects big things right away.
With the aging Davis running the franchise, he expects greatness. The 2010 Raiders finished 8-8 and Davis fully expects a winning season in 2011.
All position battles are based off the depth chart at raiders.com. Without further delay, here are the five positions that Hue Jackson will have to make a final decision at.
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Samson Satele vs. Stefen Wisniewski
Prior to the Raiders re-signing Samson Satele after the lockout, the starting center job appeared to be Stefen Wisniewskis'.
Satele was drafted back in 2007 by the Miami Dolphins and has made 27 starts for the Raiders at center in the past two seasons.
Wisniewski was drafted in the second round this year by the Raiders and had the job prior to the Raiders re-signing Satele.
4. Right Guard
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Cooper Carlisle vs. Bruce Campbell
Cooper Carlisle has compiled 63 starts at right guard for the Raiders in the past four seasons. There were a few that thought Carlisle might be released by the Raiders prior to the season.
Bruce Campbell was drafted fourth overall in 2010 and was highly touted out of Maryland. Campbell was drafted as a tackle, but the Raiders are attempting to move him inside to guard.
Campbell has seemingly fallen out of favor with Hue Jackson as he has slipped a bit on the depth chart behind Roy Schuening, but anything could happen with the Raiders line.
3. Right Tackle
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Khalif Barnes vs. Joe Barksdale
Khalif Barnes has only made five starts for the Raiders in two years. The Raiders signed Barnes after he made 57 starts at tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Last season, Barnes would rotate and fill in for injured players. This year, he is fighting to win a starting spot.
Barksdale was drafted in the third round, 92nd overall, in 2011. He was highly regarded as a top five prospect at his position and has shown how talented he is in training camp.
The Raiders will ultimately go with experience at right tackle, as it seems to be a position of concern.
2. Outside Linebacker
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Quentin Groves vs. Travis Goethel
Groves started 12 games last season for the Raiders at weak side outside linebacker. He recorded a total of 40 tackles and also nabbed an interception.
There would be games where Groves would look good and games where Groves would struggle.
Goethel was drafted in the sixth round in 2010 but has impressed the coaches. He is currently slated at middle linebacker behind Rolando McClain at middle linebacker, but is being considered at outside linebacker.
1. Wide Receiver
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Darrius Heyward-Bey vs. Louis Murphy vs. Jacoby Ford vs. Chaz Schilens vs. Denarius Moore
The wide receiver position for the Raiders is far from being set in stone. As it stands right now, both Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford would start.
Heyward-Bey only had 26 receptions for 366 yards and one TD in 2010. He is trying to fight out of the bust category.
Louis Murphy actually led all wide receivers with 41 receptions for 609 yards and two TD in 2010. Murphy has been out of action for the Raiders lately because of a groin injury.
Jacoby Ford busted onto the scene in his rookie campaign as a deep threat. He had a total of 25 receptions for 470 yards and two TD. Ford missed the Raiders preseason game due to a hand injury.
Schillens only had five receptions for 40 yards and one TD in only five games in 2010. Schillens is always hurt and currently is dealing with a sprained knee.
Rookie Denarius Moore has been the rave from the Raiders camp and could have an instant impact. In the Raiders first preseason game, Moore had three receptions for 37 yards.
The Raiders may have to start their two only healthy wide receivers, although Jacoby Ford's hand should be fine in a week or two.
Winners—Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford