What will the starting safety tandem be?
Last season, the defensive backfield struggled mightily, as the team rolled mostly with Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson in the starting lineup. That tandem finished in the top-five on the team in tackles, which is saying something, while only nabbing two interceptions as a pair.
In 2018, Joseph and Nelson are both expected to play a big role for the Raiders, who have added some extra depth via free agency. Marcus Gilchrist is a guy who can help out at either safety position, and the position group has been rotating players in and out of the first team.
Shalom Luani and Erik Harris are two veteran guys who are trying to etch their names into the 53-man roster, while second-year safety Obi Melifonwu is still battling back from injury. In a perfect world, he would somehow be a starter for the Raiders in 2018, but he needs to get out of Gruden’s doghouse first.
In addition, undrafted free agent Dallin Leavitt has looked good during OTAs for the Raiders, showing good coverage skills.
The odds are Joseph and Nelson are the two main safeties again this season, but keep your eye on Gilchrist. The Raiders brought him over here to compete for a starting job, but with how much defensive coordinator Paul Guenther loves Nelson, it is going to be hard to leapfrog him.