Five Oakland Raiders Rookies Who Will Breakout in Training Camp

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Dec 27, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; General view of an Oakland Raiders helmet at press conference at Oakland Raiders Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. Dan Kistler – OT

Dan Kistler, an undrafted free agent out of Montana, is probably the “dark horse” of this list.  Because of his small-school pedigree and his being an offensive lineman, not much information exists about Kistler.  Nevertheless, Kistler is perhaps the best offensive lineman among the UFA class. A mountain of a man at 6’7″ and 315 pounds, Kistler was an FCS first-team all-American.  He played both guard and tackle in college, has the prototypical size and arm length of an NFL lineman, combined with good technique and raw strength.

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  • The Raiders will likely retain ten offensive lineman on the 53 man roster.  After re-signing Khalif Barnes, adding free agents Kevin Boothe, Austin Howard and Donald Penn, and drafting Gabe Jackson in the 3rd round to go along with sure starter Stefen Wisniewski and last year’s 2nd round pick Melenik Watson, that leaves as many as three roster spots for the less heralded players to compete for and win in training camp.  Kistler may have the inside track with OL coach Tony Sporano simply due to his massive frame and raw physical ability, combined with his versatility and technique.  Kistler is slow, even as offensive linemen go, and he will likely learn some hard lessons in camp at the hands of players like Khalil Mack, Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley.  But in training camp matchups against the more marginal defensive lineman and linebackers on the Raider roster, he will dominate, and he will likely also dominate preseason opponents in the early weeks of the preseason, earning a spot on the roster, albeit at the bottom of the depth chart.