Oakland Raiders 5 Biggest Training Camp Battles for 2014

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Nov 28, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) throws as he is grabbed by Oakland Raiders nose tackle Stacy McGee (92) during a NFL football game on Thanksgiving at AT&T Stadium.The Cowboys beat the Raiders 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

#4- Defensive Linemen (Defensive Ends & Defensive Tackles)

In 2013, the biggest thing the Oakland Raider lacked was a pass rusher who could get after the QB on a regular basis.  The team recorded 38 sacks (Seattle had 43 sacks on the year), but there were only 9 interceptions for the entire year.  The sacks didn’t come from the Raiders interior linemen, it came mostly from LB’s and S’s.  That’s pretty pathetic when you compare it to the top 5 ranked defenses in the NFL (Averaged 20 or more interceptions).  The biggest difference there is that fact that QB’s were able to sit back in the pocket and carve away at the defensive secondary, because there was no pressure coming at them.

Hence the reason that the entire defensive line, with the exception of a few, has been altered or overhauled in some way.  There are a total of 13 DL who will be fighting for approximately 9 positions, but there’s another catch.  Some of the LB’s currently on the Raiders roster are Hybrid type of players.  That means they put their hand on the ground in the trenches a good majority of the time, as well as dropping back in pass coverage.  This could mean that there may only be 7 or 8 positions available.

The shoe-ins will more than likely be Justin Tuck (#91), LaMarr Woodley (#57), Antonio Smith (#97), Justin Ellis (#78), Pat Sims (#90), and possibly Stacy McGee (#92).  This leaves anywhere from 1 to 3 positions available for the remaining 7 players.  The biggest battles from the DE’s will be between Ryan Robinson (#58), C.J. Wilson (#98), and Jack Crawford (#99).  At DT, the biggest battles should be between McGee, Torell Troup (#64), and Ricky Lumpkin (#93).  However, if McGee continues to grow and improve, as he did in 2013, that position is his to lose.