Yesterday, the Raiders released their first depth chart of the postseason. While it does not contain Khalil Mack’s name, no one should be alarmed or worried. On the other hand, if you are a player that expected a higher placement, there is work still to do. With the regular season, roughly a month away, the Raiders will begin to slowly pare the roster down.
QB: Granted, Derek Carr sitting at number one should remain that way for years. Meanwhile, Connor Cook over EJ Manuel means that Cook will see more snaps on Friday night against Detroit.
RB: While DeAndre Washington returns from a personal issue, rookie Chris Warren III and Jalen Richard occupy the third spot. Richard brings versatility and return experience. In contrast, Warren features the size of a Gruden back.
TE: Despite not owning the blocking prowess of Lee Smith, Jared Cook anchors the tight end spot at number one. In traditional Gruden offense, the tight end needed to feature an in-line skillset. As mentioned, this is not the regular Gruden team.
OL: With Donald Penn hobbled, a name that surprised me was David Sharpe. In the middle of the hubbub surrounding Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker, Sharpe continues to improve. Honestly, many forgot him. Sharpe’s size automatically makes him an intriguing depth tackle.
DL: Seeing the rookie tandem of PJ Hall and Maurice Hurst means they continue to impress the coaching staff. Provided they continue their strong showing, the Raiders could actually employ a strong tackle rotation.
LB: When the Raiders drafted Marquel Lee, some felt his lack of agility would hurt him within a scheme. Yet, the second-year player fits in a Paul Guenther defense that prides itself on punishing linebackers. While no one should utter the words Vontaze Burfict, Lee presents as someone similar. Currently, he sits behind Derrick Johnson. At 35, Johnson could be holding the spot for Lee.
DB: In 2017, Dexter McDonald started six games for the Raiders. Now, you must look at the far right of the depth to even see his name listed. Under those circumstances, McDonald may not look long for the Raiders. Considering his extended snaps, that signifies depth and a team that improved.