NAPA -- The Raiders have an off day Monday, with no practice or media access. If there were, head coach Jon Gruden would undoubtedly have spent some time at the podium discrediting the depth chart included in the team’s first preseason release, likely saying public relations director Will Kiss filled it out to underscore the unofficial nature of it.
However, it is issued and promoted by the team and provides a perfect opportunity to discuss this Raiders roster through nine training camp practices. We’ve crossed the halfway point for practice sessions in Napa, with intensity ramping up for two joint practices with the L.A. Rams starting Wednesday.
The Raiders depth chart looks more talented than a year ago, and pretty accurate whether Gruden or Kiss or someone from community relations filled it out.
The Raiders’ full “unofficial” depth chart is listed below, with analysis covering certain positions with tight battles or surprising hierarchies underneath.
WR: Antonio Brown, JJ Nelson, Dwayne Harris, Rico Gafford
LT: Kolton Miller, Brandon Parker, Tyler Roemer
LG: Richie Incognito, Jonathan Cooper, Lester Cotton Sr.
C: Rodney Hudson, Jordan Devey, Andre James
RG: Gabe Jackson, Denver Kirkland
RT: Trent Brown, David Sharpe, Justin Murray
TE: Darren Waller, Foster Moreau, Derek Carrier, Luke Willson, Paul Butler
WR: Tyrell Williams, Marcell Ateman, Keon Hatcher, Keelan Doss, Jordan Lasley
SLOT: Hunter Renfrow, Ryan Grant, De'Mornay Pierson-El
QB: Derek Carr, Mike Glennon, Nathan Peterman
RB: Josh Jacobs, Doug Martin, Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, James Butler, Mack Brown,
FB: Alec Ingold
DE: Clelin Ferrell, Arden Key, Quinton Bell, Alex Barrett
DT: Justin Ellis, P.J. Hall, Gabe Wright, Anthony Rush
DT: Johnathan Hankins, Maurice Hurst, Ethan Westbrooks, Eddie Vanderdoes
DE: Josh Mauro, Benson Mayowa, Maxx Crosby, James Cowser
SLB: Tahir Whitehead, Marquel Lee, Kyle Wilber
MLB: Vontaze Burfict, Jason Cabinda, Te’Von Coney
WLB: Brandon Marshall, Nicholas Morrow, Koa Farmer
LCB: Daryl Worley, Trayvon Mullen, Nevin Lawson, Isaiah Langley, DJ Killings
RCB: Gareon Conley, Nick Nelson, Isaiah Johnson, Keisean Nixon, Dylan Mabin
FS: Lamarcus Joyner/Johnathan Abram, Curtis Riley, Dallin Leavitt
SS: Karl Joseph, Erik Harris, Jordan Richards
P: Johnny Townsend, AJ Cole
K: Daniel Carlson
H: Johnny Townsend
LS: Andrew DePaola, Trent Sieg
KR: Dwayne Harris, Jalen Richard
PR: Dwayne Harris, Jalen Richard
A Closer Look
Receiver: Rookie Hunter Renfrow sits atop the slot receiver spot, which is appropriate for how the start of training camp has played out. The fifth-round draft pick from Clemson has consistently played above veteran Ryan Grant and has made the most of his first-unit opportunities. He has created quick separation and has shown steady hands, just as he did in college. Renfrow’s in the driver’s seat to be the primary slot guy, and Grant must pick it up to get back in the race and/or prove he definitely deserves a roster spot.
J.J. Nelson and Marcell Ateman have started camp well and belong on the second string. They are both in the hunt for roster spots.
Tight end: Rookie Foster Moreau has been the first-in-line tight end in camp, and fits appropriately into the second tight end slot behind Darren Waller. That battle’s far from over – it is, however, unusual to see a rookie over an incumbent at this stage – with Derek Carrier and Luke Willson battling for roles and roster spots.
Quarterback: Mike Glennon has been the primary No. 2, though coaches had rotated him and Nate Peterman on the second and third units. Peterman has been the better quarterback to this point, with more "wow" throws to his credit and plenty of zip on his passes.
Punter: This is a full-on, even-steven competition, with undrafted challenger A.J. Cole creating a solid case to win the job. He has looked better than Townsend to this point, though consistency will be key in deciding who will punt for the Raiders this year.
Linebacker: Brandon Marshall has been the primary weakside linebacker and played alongside Vontaze Burfict in sub packages, answering a pre-camp question about how this position group would shake out. Tahir Whitehead can play both outside linebacker spots and will factor into the rotation either exclusively in the base defense or on all three downs. Marshall has to earn his place as an every-down linebacker this spring.
Safety: Lamarcus Joyner is listed with Johnathan Abram at first-string free safety, though Joyner hasn’t taken a single snap there in training camp practices. He has focused on slot cornerback and should play there a ton, but could pop back to safety if the desired Abram-Karl Joseph pairing doesn’t work out.
Cornerback: The starters seem set, but having rookie Trayvon Mullen and second-year pro Nick Nelson with the second unit and veteran Nevin Lawson on the third team is a mild surprise based on pre-camp perception, but Lawson hasn’t wowed to this point. Coaches like Nelson’s toughness, and Mullen has proven a solid press cornerback right away.
Punt returner: Dwayne Harris will the return man, but don’t be surprised if Antonio Brown sneaks back for a return in a key spot.