With the first preseason game coming up on Saturday against the Arizona Cardinals, the Oakland Raiders have released their first unofficial depth chart.
The Oakland Raiders are off on Monday after a great day of practice on Sunday on what was Family Day in Napa Valley. With the Raiders’ first preseason game coming up on Saturday night against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, it was only a matter of time before the team released its first unofficial depth chart.
There aren’t any really huge surprises, but there are a few position groups whose pecking orders need examining. Right off the bat, it is clear that EJ Manuel is Derek Carr‘s backup quarterback, not Connor Cook. Manuel may have had his struggles with the Buffalo Bills, but he was a former first-round pick and a standout at Florida State. He could have a long career as a viable backup in this league if he plays his cards right.
Nothing really jumps out of the skill positions. Although, it is pretty cool to see Marshawn Lynch‘s name atop the running back depth chart. It was expected, but his addition definitely adds legitimacy to the overall group. It should be noted that Jalen Richard is the first guy behind him.
As for the offensive line, this will theoretically change when Donald Penn puts pen to paper at some point. In the meantime, Marshall Newhouse is the top dog at left tackle with second-year offensive lineman Vadal Alexander at right tackle. Both Newhouse and Alexander have impressed thus far in camp.
Defensively, two rookies are atop their respective position groups. Third-round pick out of UCLA Eddie Vanderdoes seems to be the guy at defensive tackle. As expected, fifth-round pick Marquel Lee out of Wake Forest is in line to start a middle linebacker.
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Smith was seen running with the second team the last few days in camp. It may have looked like a demotion, or it really could have been Jack Del Rio trying to up the competition for the entire group.
At left cornerback, David Amerson edges out first-round pick Gareon Conley out of Ohio State. Conley may be more talented than Amerson, but Conley hasn’t practiced enough yet to usurp Amerson for a starting role.
Second-year pro Karl Joseph may be above rookie Obi Melifonwu at strong safety, but we have to expect both will play a ton this fall. The idea is that Melifonwu would be more of that linebacker/safety hybrid. He has been dealing with an injury this past week. At least Joseph looks to be healthy after last season.
Overall, it doesn’t seem like Del Rio, offensive coordinator Todd Downing and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. had to debate very much atop their respective depth charts. This team is forming a strong identity. If the defense catches up to the offense, look out, AFC!