The Las Vegas Raiders released their first regular-season depth chart ahead of Week 1, and there were a few surprises for sure.
It is officially Game Week for the Las Vegas Raiders, as they will welcome the Baltimore Ravens to Allegiant Stadium on Monday night. On Tuesday, the team released their first unofficial depth chart for the Week 1 matchup, and while most of it was already set in stone, there were a few things that jumped out when it was laid out.
Here are two surprises from the depth chart on the defensive side of the ball, where the Raiders look to improve in a big way in 2021.
KJ Wright slides right into a starting job with the Raiders
The Raiders made the K.J. Wright signing official a few days ago, and he is already penciled in as a starter on Gus Bradley’s defense. In fact, he is the only player listed at SLB, which means he is not only going to start but will need to stay healthy with how thin the Raiders currently are at linebacker with Nicholas Morrow and Javin White out.
Of course, Wright sliding right into a starting role was made possible by the release of Tanner Muse, who was reported to be in line to have a starting job on this defense. Wright is an excellent player, and a significant upgrade for this linebacker group, so seeing him listed as a starter right away, especially with his experience in Bradley’s system is encouraging.
No defensive tackle named the starter as of yet
Staying on defense, while Johnathan Hankins is written in as the definite starter at nose tackle, who will line up next to him is still up in the air. On the depth chart, it listed Quinton Jefferson, Solomon Thomas, and Gerald McCoy as ‘ors,’ which means that no clear starter has emerged.
It also means that the three players will likely be in a rotation, as the Raiders want to be able to trot out fresh defensive linemen whenever possible. Bradley’s scheme needs that kind of flexibility, and all three will have a chance to make an impact on a weekly basis on this defense.
The Las Vegas Raiders have a tough matchup in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens, but here are three reasons why they will win the game.
Overall, the depth on the Raiders looks a lot better than it did a year ago, and if they can get strong offensive line play, and improvements on defense, they should be a team that contends for a playoff spot in 2021. Mike Mayock has already stated that is the expectation, and we are only a few days away from seeing what the final product looks like on the field.