Oakland Raiders Preseason Week 1 Preview: Storylines to Watch

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Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) leaves the field against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 47-14. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

2. Khalil Mack’s impact at defensive end

According to Raiders.com, second-year player Khalil Mack is now listed as a defensive end after playing most of his rookie season at the outside linebacker position.

Given Mack’s ability to attack the quarterback, his sack total should unquestionably increase if he continues to regularly have his hand in the ground, but it will be interesting to see how this affects the rest of his game.

Pro Football Focus ranked Mack at No. 39 on their 2014 Top 101 players list, as he was described as one of the top defensive players against the run in just his rookie season.

Though Mack seems to be versatile enough to continue his dominance at nearly any position on the defensive side of the ball, he may have some growing pains as he adjusts to the new position.

It will also be interesting to see how Mack’s addition to the defensive line impacts the defense, as another outside linebacker will fill in behind him.

Ray-Ray Armstrong, who is a third-year player out of the University of Miami, is currently listed as the starting outside linebacker opposite of 2015 free agent addition Malcolm Smith. Though Smith will likely be replaced once Sio Moore fully recovers from his hip injury, Armstrong looks to have secured his starting role due to his stellar performance this offseason.

A former strong safety At Miami, Armstrong has strong coverage skills for his 6’3″, 220 pound frame. He plays the game with a high-motor and has reliable instincts that regularly lead him to the football.

Armstrong will be looking for revenge in the preseason opener, as he was released from the St. Louis Rams shortly before the Raiders claimed him off waivers in 2014.

Next: Preseason Week 1 Storylines: Max Valles Looks to Impress