Top five Raiders training camp battles
Weakside linebacker: Sio Moore vs. Miles Burris
With Kevin Burnett officially released, the contenders to start at this spot are down to two. While head coach Dennis Allen swears this is an open competition, the Raiders surely hope Moore takes command and earns the job. Burris won’t go down easy, especially now that he’s healthy after a 2013 season essentially lost to a knee injury. Allen said this could be his favorite battle of this training camp.
Running back: Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Darren McFadden
If these previously productive veterans stay healthy, both of them will get carries during the regular season. One person will surely get more. And while it’s safe to assume Jones-Drew is that guy, McFadden could even the scales with a solid preseason.
CB: Chimdi Chekwa vs. TJ Carrie vs. Carlos Rogers vs. TBA
With DJ Hayden possibly out for all of training camp rehabilitating from foot surgery, others will have an opportunity to sneak into the top three corners. The Raiders would prefer Rogers remain a true nickel corner -- he’ll be in the mix no matter what -- leaving another to sneak into the mix. Carrie will be in play for a spot in the slot, and Chekwa will have a chance outside as the Raiders evaluate their options. Don’t rule out a newcomer being added to the mix, especially if Hayden’s out for another month or more.
KR/PR: Greg Jenkins vs. TJ Carrie vs. Taiwan Jones vs. George Atkinson III
The Raiders need a greater return from their return game, and will sift through several to find the best option. Jenkins or Atkinson III could earn a roster spot with that position, though the Raiders have experimented with more prominent skill players like McFadden and Jones-Drew in those spots as well. With so many combatants, this battle won’t be decided for some time.
Blocking TE: Nick Kasa vs. Brian Leonhardt
David Ausberry and Mychal Rivera are better receivers than blockers, but the Raiders use some big fronts on running downs. While they may add an extra tackle in jumbo sets, they’d prefer to use a tight end -- a receiving threat in some capacity -- in those spots. Kasa will start camp on the PUP list, giving Leonhardt first crack at impressing coaches. Kasa has the tools to be a complete tight end but remains a project. Honing his blocking skill could be the fastest way for him to reach the field.