The Raiders have experienced significant roster turnover this offseason, as expected.
They were active on the front and back ends of unrestricted free agency. They added nine players in the draft to positions of need, and veteran upgrades to other trouble spots. The roster looks deeper and younger on paper, with plenty of firepower on offense and what could be a strong secondary.
Plenty of questions remain about this roster, which won’t be rebuilt in a draft or an offseason.
While more additions could come during the offseason program or after final cuts, this year’s retooling is largely complete. Let’s take a look at the group as it stands and a way-too-early shot at how things might shake out – without yet-to-be announced undrafted free agents – in our Raiders roster reset.
Locks: Derek Carr
Looking good: Mike Glennon
On the bubble: Landry Jones, Nathan Peterman
Uphill climb: None
Overview: All that speculation about Derek Carr’s immediate future can finally be put to rest. It turns out Gruden and Mayock were telling the truth the whole time, saying they were completely comfortable with their franchise quarterback behind center while doing due diligence on the position. The Raiders had some quarterback options in mind later in the draft – they weren’t taking one high, no matter what you hear from national talking heads – but never addressed the position because it wasn’t necessary.
Carr’s the unquestioned starter, and they’re flush with backups. Mike Glennon should be the No. 2, and Nate Peterman will try and beat out Landry Jones for the third slot. That’s the position group’s lone batter this spring and summer.
Locks: Josh Jacobs, Isaiah Crowell, Jalen Richard
Looking good: Keith Smith
On the bubble: Chris Warren
Uphill climb: DeAndre Washington, Ryan Yurachek
Overview: Jacobs changes the dynamic of this position group, and should get the lion’s share of snaps from the backfield. He’s a true three-down talent, though the team may manage his workload some considering he was part of a tandem at Alabama.
Crowell will be a featured player and Gruden’ affinity for Richard means he’s still heavily in the mix. Washington will have a tough time finding a role here, and Chris Warren III must prove himself as an able big-bodied back and pass protector.
Locks: Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Ryan Grant, Dwayne Harris
Looking good: Hunter Renfrow
On the bubble: Marcell Ateman, J.J. Nelson
Uphill climb: Keon Hatcher, Saeed Blacknall
Overview: This position group is a team strength after a massive overhaul, loaded with depth and frontline talent. It’s a complete crew with a superstar in Brown and varied skill sets in support. Some quality players may end up off the roster.
Nelson has speed in spades, and that could give him a leg up especially if he helps on special teams (though he hasn’t in the past) over some other competition.
Locks: Lee Smith
Looking good: Darren Waller
On the bubble: Luke Willson, Derek Carrier, Foster Moreau
Uphill climb: Paul Butler
Overview: These classifications can and will change with competition in this position group more than most. Smith is an excellent blocker and group leader. Waller is a virtual lock and will have a chance to be the chief receiving tight end, but he’ll have to earn it.
Willson, Carrier and Moreau might be competing for one or two jobs, max. Butler is a good player trying to find his way in a competitive situation.
Locks: Rodney Hudson, Trent Brown, Kolton Miller, Gabe Jackson, Denzelle Good
Looking good: Brandon Parker, Jordan Devey
On the bubble: Denver Kirkland, Chaz Green, David Sharpe
Uphill climb: Jamar McGloster, Justin Murray
Overview: The Raiders offensive line has the potential to be a top-end unit this year. There’s tons of talent up front, but there’s some uncertainty at several spots. Will Miller make a jump in his second season? Can Good be consistent enough inside? Will Brown live up to his massive contract?
We know for certain Hudson and Jackson will be reliable as always, and the depth chart will look different with Parker at swing tackle and Devey as a possible interior super sub. Bubble guys could easily work onto the roster as the Raiders try to find the best mix.
Locks: Clelin Ferrell, Maurice Hurst, Johnathan Hankins, Justin Ellis
Looking good: Josh Mauro, Arden Key, Benson Mayowa, Mason Crosby, P.J. Hall
On the bubble: Quenton Bell, Eddie Vanderdoes,
Uphill climb: Gabe Wright
Overview: You don’t see many locks up top. That’s because this defensive line has so much to prove after a disappointing 2018 season where they didn’t play the run or pass well enough.
Key’s going to be a player here, and Mayowa will bring a veteran presence to a super young crew. Mauro should help on obvious rushing downs, especially with some better suited for obvious passing downs. Vanderdoes is trying to get his career back on track after an ACL tear cost him all of 2018.
Ferrell should be a three-down player, and Hankins and Ellis will play a lot. The team has belief in Hurst as the frontline three technique.
Locks: Tahir Whitehead, Vontaze Burfict, Brandon Marshall
Looking good: Kyle Wilber, Marquel Lee, Jason Cabinda, Nicholas Morrow
On the bubble: None
Uphill climb: None
Overview: This breakdown started with no one as a roster lock then back a bit off that stance to avoid sensationalism. There is a point to that outlook, however, considering every linebacker has something to prove. Whitehead might be the lone exception after playing most every snap last year.
Burfict and Marshall must rebound after down years plagued by injury, though their veteran experience is necessary. Wilber’s important on special teams, and Lee, Cabinda and Morrow have flashed at times and could be a reserve unit called into action for older players with recent injury issues.
Locks: Gareon Conley, Daryl Worley, Nevin Lawson
Looking good: Trayvon Mullen, Isaiah Johnson
On the bubble: Nick Nelson
Uphill climb: Makinton Dorleant, Montrel Meander, Rico Gafford
Overview: The Raiders added two guys to the group this draft, with two coming in the top 40. Lamarcus Joyner is a safety by trade but will spend significant time in the slot. They also have two returning starters in Conley and Worley virtually locked into their spots and Lawson ready should a cornerback slip up.
Open roster spots are at a premium here. Nick Nelson was in last year’s draft class and even for him there’s zero guarantee. He must convince coaches to keep a six cornerback, which isn’t impossible but difficult considering Joyner’s an unofficial member of this crew.
Locks: Lamarcus Joyner, Johnathan Abram
Looking good: Karl Joseph
On the bubble: Curtis Riley, Erik Harris, Jordan Richards
Uphill climb: Dallin Leavitt
Overview: Joyner was lured into silver and black with a fat contract. Listen to Gruden talk for any length about Abram and you’ll sense he’s destined for a major role. Those guys should be fixtures, though a third safety’s required considering how often Joyner will be in the slot.
Joseph could be that guy through he and Abram are both strong safety types. Harris played better late last season. Riley and Richards have more experiences, but those two might be battling for one roster spot, depending on how many cornerbacks are kept. Neither guy has much guaranteed money to speak of, so parting ways wouldn’t hurt.
Locks: Daniel Carlson
Looking good: None
On the bubble: Johnny Townsend, Drew Kaser, Trent Sieg, Andrew DePaola
Uphill climb: Eddy Pineiro
Overview: Pineiro was set to become the Raiders' kicker last year, until a groin injury took him out for the whole season. Carlson took full advantage, rebounding well after Minnesota cut him after Week 2. He set the franchise record for field goal percentage in a single season, so the job is obviously his to lose.
It’s a straight up position battle between Townsend and Kaser. DePaola has a solid track record, but Sieg stepped right in after the veteran went down. DePaola doesn’t have guaranteed money on his deal, so that won’t play into their decision.
And… since we’re doing things way, way too early, here’s a Raiders depth chart (minus undrafted free agents) as the Raiders continue through the offseason program with a full squad:
WR: Antonio Brown, Ryan Grant, Keon Hatcher
T: Kolton Miller, Brandon Parker, Denzelle Good
LG: Gabe Jackson, Denver Kirkland
C: Rodney Hudson, Jordan Devey
RG: Denzelle Good, Jordan Devey, Chaz Green
RT: Trent Brown, David Sharpe, Justin Murray, Jamar McGloster
TE: Lee Smith (rushing downs)/Darren Waller (passing downs), Derek Carrier, Luke Willson, Paul Butler, Foster Moreau
QB: Derek Carr, Mike Glennon, Landry Jones, Nathan Peterman
RB: Josh Jacobs, Isaiah Crowell, Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, Chris Warren III
FB: Keith Smith, Ryan Yurachek
SLOT: Ryan Grant, J.J. Nelson, Hunter Renfrow, Dwyane Harris
WR: Tyrell Williams, Marcell Ateman, Saaed Blacknall
DE: Clelin Ferrell, Josh Mauro, Alex Barrett
NT: Johnathan Hankins, Justin Ellis, Eddie Vanderdoes
DT: Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall, Gabe Wright
DE: Arden Key, Benson Mayowa, Mason Crosby, Quenton Bell
SLB: Brandon Marshall, Marquel Lee, Kyle Wilber
MLB: Vontaze Burfict, Jason Cabinda
WLB: Tahir Whitehead, Nicholas Morrow
CB: Gareon Conley, Trayvon Mullen. Isaiah Johnson, Makinton Dorleant
FS: Lamarcus Joyner, Curtis Riley, Erik Harris, Dallin Leavitt
SS: Johnathan Abram, Karl Joseph, Jordan Richards
SLOT: Lamarcus Joyner, Nick Nelson, Johnathan Abram
CB: Daryl Worley, Nevin Lawson, Montrel Meander, Rico Gafford
K: Daniel Carlson, Daniel Pineiro
P: Johnny Townsend, Drew Kaser
PR: Dwayne Harris, De’Mornary Pierson-El, Rashard Davis, Jalen Richard, Josh Jacobs, Antonio Brown
KR: Dwayne Harris, De’Mornary Pierson-El, Rashard Davis
LS: Andre DePaola, Trent Sieg