Raiders

2019 NFL Draft: Raiders' trio of first-round picks take a tumble

2019 NFL Draft: Raiders' trio of first-round picks take a tumble

ALAMEDA – The Raiders enjoyed Sunday’s 23-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on its own. It was a morale boost for those working tirelessly to prepare, and that much was clear in a festive postgame locker room.

The Silver and Black’s draft positioning didn’t appreciate it. It didn’t like the Dallas Cowboys or Chicago Bears winning, either.

All three Raiders first-round draft picks got worse Sunday. Picks earned from the Khalil Mack (Chicago) and Amari Cooper (Dallas) trades are taking significant hits from winning streaks brought about, at least in part, by guys the Raiders traded away.

That’s a rough turn all the way around, especially after ceding the No. 1 overall pick to the 49ers.

Here’s a look at the Raiders draft order after Week 11’s action:

No. 2 overall (Last week: No. 1)
How it was earned:
The Raiders didn’t fall far, but adding more wins with the NFL cellar tightly packed could spell trouble for the Raiders being able to choose the player at the top of their draft board. They need a pass rusher something fierce.

Winnable games on the Raiders remaining schedule are hard to find, but they could steal a few more before the season ends. Stranger things have happened.

Not many, but some.

No. 16 overall (Last week: No. 14)
How it was earned:
The Cowboys crawled back to .500, and could surge down the stretch in a wide-open NFC East lacking quality teams now that Washington quarterback Alex Smith is done for the year.

The Raiders want the Cowboys to start losing, and Dallas needs more trademark team turmoil to get that done.

No. 25 overall (Last week 23)
How it was earned:
The Bears are posing a real problem, and proving why the Raiders were a bit hasty in dealing Mack before the regular season started. Believing Chicago would be bad was part of the reason why Mack was traded to Chicago, though Mack made the Bears defense excellent.

The Bears are steamrolling toward the playoffs, and possibly an NFC North title, meaning this draft pick could stay low.

Raiders' early 2019 schedule easier after Colts QB Andrew Luck retires

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Raiders' early 2019 schedule easier after Colts QB Andrew Luck retires

The Raiders’ brutal early season schedule just got a little easier.

They still will start 2019 with AFC West home games against the Broncos and Chiefs, followed by a trip to Minnesota and then another flight to Indianapolis.

A Week 4 contest played at 10 a.m. PT in a loud domed stadium is never easy, but the Raiders sneaking out with a win certainly is more probable now after Colts quarterback Andrew Luck surprised many by retiring Saturday.

The Stanford alum and former No. 1 overall NFL draft pick was a Hall of Fame talent, but injuries piled up and prompted his shocking decision.

While the Colts certainly could make changes at quarterback, Jacoby Brissett is the starter there right now. He hasn’t been great in his opportunities, with a 5-12 record as a starter.

Or maybe the Colts will trade for another passer — Mike Glennon or Nathan Peterman, anyone? — but they will be reeling heading into the season without their fearless leader.

The Colts still are a good team, with a tough offensive line, speed at receiver and a strong run game led by Marlon Mack. Their defense is better, too, so the Colts won’t be a pushover even with Luck gone.

[RELATED: Who won? Evaluating Raiders' position battles as preseason winds down]

But there’s no arguing Indy is easier to handle without Luck, who had 705 passing yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions in three games against the Raiders. Luck lost to Oakland only once, in the fateful 2016 contest in which Raiders quarterback Derek Carr broke his leg.

The Raiders’ early schedule still is brutal — there’s a game in London against Chicago the week after the Colts game — but there’s a much more winnable game on it now.

Who won? Evaluating Raiders' position battles as preseason winds down

Who won? Evaluating Raiders' position battles as preseason winds down

The Raiders have, at long last, reached the preseason’s final stretch. A handful of practices and Thursday’s largely inconsequential game at Seattle remain before final cuts. Coaches have been chipping away for a little while, but that’s when preparation for the regular-season opener begins in earnest.

There were roles to fill and a depth chart to set this summer in training camp and over the preseason slate, but most position battles have been settled. Some were settled quickly, others took most of camp and new ones emerged during the Raiders’ time in Napa. We’ll update those position battles, declaring victors in some instances and identifying leaders in those still undecided.

Let’s go over pre-camp position battles turned out before moving on to some newer ones:

SLOT RECEIVER

Hunter Renfrow vs. Ryan Grant

Renfrow took control of this battle early, with an impressive start to camp. He proved reliable, with precise routes and soft hands. He built trust with Derek Carr, while Grant faded into the background. The veteran didn’t lie down, putting solid practices together against the Rams backed by two quality preseason performances.

It’s possible both guys make the roster, though Grant might be trade bait for the right opportunity. The back end of the receiver group remains in the air, but Renfrow’s a roster lock after giving opponents fits in camp.

Victor: Renfrow

BACKUP QUARTERBACK

Mike Glennon vs. Nathan Peterman

This one was tight early, but Glennon pulled away in Napa and seems to have the No. 2 spot locked up after largely effective preseasons. That doesn’t mean Peterman has been bad, or is off the roster soon.

The 25-year old has been solid in preseason games and improved in practices while gaining confidence, and could well prompt the Raiders to keep three quarterbacks. He has better long-term upside and head coach Jon Gruden might not be ready to give up on his pet project.

Victor: Glennon

LINEBACKER

Brandon Marshall vs. Marquel Lee

There was some question how Marshall would fare after missing offseason program practices, especially coming off injuries, but the veteran has been steady while getting into tip-top football shape.

He has worked almost exclusively with the first unit in camp, with Lee as the strongside backup. He has gotten some work in the middle, where he has played the longest.

Marshall worked with Vontaze Burfict in the sub packages, but Tahir Whitehead has done some of that lately. It’s uncertain at this point who comes out when slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner comes in, but Marshall has been a first-unit fixture heading into the regular season.

Victor: Marshall

TIGHT END

Derek Carrier vs. Luke Willson

The top end of the depth chart was set in the offseason. Darren Waller is the primary receiving tight end, someone who moves around the formation. Foster Moreau was the primary in-line blocker. Finding the third member of the fraternity was tough.

Carrier looks like the guy, especially after an excellent touchdown catch against Arizona and the fact he didn’t play with starters and important role players skipped Thursday’s preseason game in Canada.

Odds-on favorite: Carrier

PUNTER

Johnny Townsend vs. A.J. Cole

This one ended fast, with Townsend waived shortly after the first preseason game. Cole ran away with it in Napa practice periods and in games, showing power and the hang time that helps punt coverage.

Cole was consistent while Townsend was erratic and largely ineffective, prompting the Raiders to punt last year’s fifth-round draft pick for an undrafted kid signed after a rookie minicamp tryout.

Victor: Cole

Some position battles over specific regular-season roles have emerged over the course of training camp. Let’s take a closer look at those …

FULLBACK

Keith Smith vs. Alec Ingold

This one was created by circumstance. Smith repaired a torn meniscus just days before training camp, giving Ingold opportunities aplenty. The undrafted free agent took full advantage in games and practices.

Smith returned with a vengeance during Thursday’s preseason game vs. Green Bay, scoring a touchdown while making his presence known. He’s a respected core special teams player who won’t give up without a fight.

The Raiders should be able to get Ingold onto the practice squad -- few teams require fullbacks anymore -- so the Silver and Black can keep both guys in the building.

Odds-on favorite: Smith

SWING TACKLE

Brandon Parker vs. David Sharpe

Parker seemed to have this gig locked up during the offseason program, but he slipped up a few times this summer and Sharpe has played tough despite dealing with injuries. The Raiders have both players working on the right and left, as they try to identify a super sub on the flanks.

Parker still seems like the guy. He’s bigger and athletic with room to improve, and the Raiders also spent a third-round pick on him just last year.

Favorite: Parker

RIGHT GUARD

Jordan Devey vs. Denver Kirkland

Gabe Jackson’s knee injury created a vacancy in the starting lineup, temporarily at least. Gruden said interior super sub Devey would get first crack at the position, and has taken ownership of it thus far. He sat while Kirkland played on Thursday, another sign that a hierarchy has been formed.

The Raiders could shake things up before or after final cuts if Devey doesn’t inspire confidence.

[RELATED: Antonio Brown dances with students at De La Salle football game]

Denzelle Good’s also a factor here, especially if he can prove healthy after missing most spring and summer work recovering from back surgery.

Odds-on favorite: Devey

NOTE: You don't see a discussion on the sixth receiver or whether the Raiders will keep a fifth running back or an extra lineman here. That comes later. Such roster math fits into our final 53-man roster projection, which will come out early Monday morning.