The draft is over and now fans must ride out the Summer without football. A little news here, a little news there, but other than another Rolando McClain arrest, the off-season is as boring as (fill in the blank) crime show on CBS.
So speculation ensues and what better to speculate on than the many intriguing camp battles residing in Oakland. Shall we start at quarterback?
QB - In my opinion this is the biggest camp battle in the NFL. Forget that GM Reggie McKenzie has claimed Matt Flynn as the presumable starter. This could go any way.
What started off as Terrell Pryor vs. Matt Flynn, now includes the once sought after draft prospect, Tyler Wilson. The former Razorback (say hello Darren McFadden) has been compared to the likes of Brett Favre. His accuracy and general throwing ability is hampered by his poor foot work and tendency to throw before setting up. Something that can quickly be changed in the NFL. If Matt Flynn and Terrell Pryor under perform, this kid will definitely see the field.
1 – Matt Flynn 2 – Tyler Wilson 3 – Terrell Pryor (also sees the field in wildcat role)
OT – The Raiders offensive line isn’t great. However, they aren’t horrible either. Jared Veldheer and Stefen Wisnewski are two bright spots that stick out. Khalif Barnes and Mike Brisiel stick out as well, but for all the wrong reasons.
Enter Menelik Watson. The raw offensive tackle has a very high ceiling to say the least. In his rookie season he could indeed replace either Brisiel or Barnes. In fact it may even be his job to lose.
1 – Menelik Watson 2 – Khalif Barnes
RB – No question here Darren McFadden starts. Of course if he is healthy (fingers crossed). But what about the backup running back. Rashad Jennings rushed close to 1000 yards backing up Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville. Can he produce that well for the Raiders?
Not if Latavius Murray can produce more. The late round draft pick also has a great amount of upside. Standing taller than most backs with a hard nose yet deadly burst of speed running style, he reminds scouts of Darren McFadden. Big shoes to fill kid. Hey if it doesn’t work out, one can always become a corner in Oakland just ask Taiwan Jones.
1 – Darren McFadden 2 – Rashad Jennings 3 – Latavius Murray
WR – Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford are without doubt Oakland’s premier pass catchers. This battle resides in the number three spot (not necessarily slot receiver, but the third primary target of Oakland’s plays)
Rod Streater was an undrafted free agent out of Temple and took advantage of his chance. He will compete with Duke’s Conner Vernon, another undrafted free agent. Vernon possesses quickness and an ability to work out of the slot. This kid could be the next Streater.
1 – Denarius Moore 2 – Jacoby Ford 3 – Conner Vernon 4 – Rod Streater 5 -Sam McGuffie 6 – Juron Criner
Oakland could go any way with their tight ends. This is really a battle of low quality players. If David Ausberry improves his run blocking the job is his (hit the weight room). The same goes for rookie Mychal Rivera who displays amazing hands. If these two guys can’t get physical, rookie Nick Kasa will. (reminds me of Brandon Meyers)
1 – Nick Kasa 2 – David Ausberry 3 – Mychal Rivera (look for Rivera to get his opportunities)
NCB – D.J. Hayden and Mike Jenkins most likely will line up at one and two for the Raider’s corner backs. The nickel back however could play out any way.
Tracy Porter made appearances in a Pro-Bowl due to his skill at nickel back (struggled starting in Denver). This should be his job to lose. However, Joselio Hanson did a very nice job last season stepping in for a depleted roster. If he works his tail off in camp he might reap the benefits. Also don’t forget about Mr. Taiwan Jones.
1 – Tracy Porter 2 – Joselio Hanson 3 – Taiwan Jones
Well those are the most heated battles going into camp. Until than Raider Nation has plenty to be hopeful for. I for one am not giving up on this season and jumping on the 2014 campaign bandwagon.
Give me some feedback on who you guys think will turn heads in camp!