Yesterday, we discussed the Raiders along the offensive side of the ball. Now, we will look at the players that could snag a roster spot. With the preseason accelerating toward the September, the team, on paper, looks rather solid.
When the Raiders sent Khalil Mack to Chicago, any positive production from the defensive line vanished. Arden Key possesses the physical tools that flash immediately. Yet, he looks better served for a specialist role. Ferrell, the fourth overall pick holds down the right side. Veteran Josh Mauro, a run stuffer will occupy left end. Maxx Crosby could siphon off snaps later in the season.
Despite a strong preseason, Anthony Rush falls just short. Justin Ellis snags the spot. Meanwhile, Hankins and Hurst provide Oakland with enough disruptive pressure to help the ends. The wildcard remains PJ Hall. After a year of little flash, can he hold on to a spot?
In all honesty, Morrow needs to probably grasp some snaps in the rotation. While the Raiders improved with the additions of Burfict and Marshall, they lack the athleticism to play three downs. However, they should fare well versus the run, as they all attack downhill.
In stark contrast to the Reggie McKenzie era, the Raiders constructed group of twitchy corners. Facing Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, and Tyreek Hill makes this necessary. Conley sits atop the chart as the lockdown corner. The battle between Worley and Mullen for the second spot could go down to the wire. On the back end, Isaiah Johnson and Nick Nelson rounds out the athletic group.
Despite some size limitations, this group brings a punishing approach to the field. In his last year as a Raider, Karl Joseph looks to open eyes. When the Raiders signed Joyner, visions of a versatile cover safety that can occupy the slot receiver. With Abram, the team would like to see him supplant Joseph before the end of the season. Armed with physicality, the Raiders want their young safety to take a cerebral approach.
Carlson gives the Raiders their best kicker since Sebastian Janikowski. After Minnesota cut him, Carlson fine-tuned his approach, increasing his accuracy. Cole won the punting job before the end of camp, ending Johnny Townsend Oakland tenure. Cole’s ability to connect on booming punts made Townsend dispensable. If you only read about Andrew DePaola here, that means he is succeeding at a long snapper. Additionally, the Raiders will lean on Kyle Wilber to anchor the special teams.