Deep Dive into the Raiders first depth chart

Source: Review Journal

The Raiders are deeper this season than past seasons, and with the preseason opener six days away, the team has unveiled their first unofficial depth chart of the 2021 NFL season:

Key Notes:

  • The Raiders battle at linebacker isn’t set in stone, but it seems like Nick Kwiatkoski is taking a back seat to Nicholas Morrow. Morrow was resigned to a 1-yr deal worth $4.5M after testing the free agency market. The Raiders favor Morrow’s pass coverage ability over Kwiatkoski’s run stopping ability.
  • As expected, Clelin Ferrell is now the backup at defensive end, although this could change, Rod Marinelli clearly favors two pass rushers over a run defender. The expectation is Ferrell will be a rotational player.
  • Rookie running back B.J. Emmons is listed as running back No. 3 with Jalen Richard. Emmons chose to go to the Seahawks after not being drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft, which means Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock could have potentially wanted him over Trey Ragas and Garrett Groshek, since they have him ranked higher than both players.
  • Jalen Richard is out, which means the Raiders kick returners could be Kenyan Drake or Henry Ruggs, guys that are expected to be key contirbutors on offense. With a heightend injury risk to returners on kick return at play, it’ll be interesting to see if rookie wide receivers DJ Turner and Dillon Stoner can make the roster, and potentially return kicks.
  • Matt Bushman, a rookie from BYU, is listed as the No. 3 TE with Derek Carrier. A source inside the building has been raving about this rookie. It seems like the Raiders are equally high on him.
  • Amik Robertson is listed as the third corner in the slot, which means Nate Hobbs, a rookie, is likely to start week one with Nevin Lawson suspended.
  • Tanner Muse is listed as the starting strong side LB, which means he will be responsible for covering tight ends. However, according to one source, when the Raiders practiced their base 43 defense, it was Kwiatkoski at middle LB, Morrow moved to strong side LB, and Littleton stayed on the weak side, which means Muse actually isn’t starting over Kwiatkoski. As camp progresses, the battle for the third linebacker spot will be more clear.

A Raiders insider also reported on Twitter that the Raiders coaches don’t spend any time on the unofficial depth charts, and that they are for press release purposes only. Teams are required to release depth charts prior to the first preseason matchup by NFL teams. So, of course, it’s not set in stone. With that, changes are likely to happen, and this depth chart will look much different from the season’s first game.

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