Jul 30, 2013; Napa, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive players Tyvon Branch (33) , Jon Condo (59) and Omar Gaither (52) participate in warmup drills at training camp at Napa Valley Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders Release First Depth Chart

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Just a reminder folks, it’s pre-season.  Of course the Oakland Raiders have to release some type of depth chart that indicates who the first team is, the second team, and so forth.  How else will the team know who will play on Friday night?  Once it was released yesterday, Twitter blew up and people argued about who is listed.  The biggest surprise to everyone was Tyler Wilson being listed in the fourth spot.  Quite frankly, this list means absolutely nothing until the start of the regular season.  This is based on a 90 player roster.  The actual roster will be 53 players.  Even though it’s not set in stone, let’s take a look at some of the more interesting placements.

Jul 30, 2013; Napa, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) gestures at training camp at Napa Valley Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The quarterback position has been one of the most discussed to date.  I have been quoted as saying that I think Matt Flynn is our best bet for now, and I have also been ridiculed for it as well.  It’s not that I don’t think Pryor should start, but I want to have the best option in place to begin winning this year.  At this point in the season, mind you none of us have seen the players in-game form yet, I believe that Flynn should be listed as the starter.  However, if it becomes clear that Pryor can run the offense and make the right reads/throws, he would give us a dynamic extra in that he can elude tacklers by utilizing his speed.  All four quarterbacks can break out of the pocket if need be, but Pryor has the ability to make tacklers miss.

When I was at training camp, I noticed that Matt McGloin had really good mechanics and very good footwork.  He definitely surprised me with the velocity of his throws.  The excitement of drafting a quarterback, and the lack of game time play from Flynn, may have had all of us jumping on the Tyler Wilson bus a bit too soon.  In reality, the readiness of any player can be observed both in practice and in the pre-season.  Apparently McGloin has shown the coaches that he wants a roster spot.  The nice thing is, Raider Nation should get to see a lot of Pryor, McGloin, and Wilson on Friday.  I’m sure we will only get a one or two series look at Flynn, but it is to be expected since he is listed as the starter.

The offensive line is playing out pretty much how I expected it to with the exception of the right tackle and left guard positions.  Lucas Nix has definitely impressed the coaching staff with his blocking ability at the left guard position.  He has pushed past Tony Bergstrom on the depth chart, and Raider Nation will be seeing him run with the first team on Friday.  Currently, right tackle is secured by Khalif Barnes.  This is due in part to the fact that Menelik Watson hasn’t even practiced yet, and Barnes finished the 2012 season at the position.  As a matter of fact, Barnes was playing the right tackle position in 2011 when the power run scheme was in place.  This was the year the Raiders started the first half of the season as the top rushing offense in the NFL before Darren McFadden’s injury.  Barnes has been performing well at training camp, and he should continue as the right tackle barring any injury.

The biggest surprise on the depth chart for me is the tight end position.  Richard Gordon was listed ahead of both David Ausberry and Mychal Rivera.  This tells me that blocking is going to be one of the biggest deciding factors in selecting a starting tight end.  Gordon has always blocked well, but his hands were the biggest question.  Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised in the pre-season.

Jun 3, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders linebacker Nick Roach (53) at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As far as the defensive depth chart goes, Raider Nation had it right shortly into Organized Team Activities (OTA’s) with Sio Moore being a starter.  It is obvious that Moore was greatly undervalued in the 2013 NFL Draft, but I see it more as a blessing to the Raiders defense.  With Miles Burris nursing his knee back to health, Moore should continue to see playing time as the Strong-side Linebacker (SLB).  With D.J. Hayden out due to his hamstring, Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins get the nod as starting defensive backs.  No worries for me here, because I believe this gives us the best opportunity to defend the pass.  Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett were signed for a reason, to start at their respective positions.  They have both impressed the coaching staff with their veteran leadership, handle on the defense, and elevated play.  They both deserve the spots they were given.

With regard to the defensive line, it is pretty much a crap shoot as to who will actually step-up to give us the best pass rush capability.  Lamarr Houston should elevate himself to be a top rusher this year, but it’s the rest of the defensive line that is a big unknown.  David Bass has been impressing the coaching staff in practice, but he was dropped to the third right end spot.  I guess it could just be that way due to it only being the first pre-season game.

I tend to get overly excited about these types of things, but I have had to learn to just roll with it.  The coaching staff will give the team the best chance to win this year, and the pre-season is merely a live dress rehearsal for the first team players.  It is also the opportunity for the second and third team players to show the coaching staff that they are worth a roster spot for depth and special teams play.  Can’t wait for Friday, August 9, how about you?

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Tags: David Ausberry David Bass Kevin Burnett Khalif Barnes Matt Flynn Matt McGloin Menelik Watson Mike Jenkins Nick Roach Oakland Raiders Raider Nation Richard Gordon Sio Moore Terrelle Pryor Tracy Porter Tyler Wilson

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