This Saturday night, the Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks in their first of three preseason games. While the preseason certainly doesn’t get as much love as the regular season, it’s the most important part of the year for many players.
During the preseason, players on the fringe of making the roster either make of break their careers. Many position battles are won and lost during this time as well. Let’s take a look at some key roster battles that will be taking place on Saturday.
Coming into camp, most fans expected the starting linebacker trio to look something like Cory Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski and Nicholas Morrow. That was the consensus opinion, but things became a bit more complicated when the Raiders released their official depth chart on Tuesday.
That depth chart included Tanner Muse starting at strong side linebacker and Morrow at middle linebacker.
Muse was talented enough to be drafted by the Raiders in 2020, and we know he is liked by the coaching staff. However, he didn’t play a snap last year due to injuries. Because of that, it is interesting that he’s listed as a starter, while Nick Kwiatkoski is not.
Nick had a very solid first year with the Raiders and was one of the lone bright spots on defense.
This is not meant to be a slight towards Muse, however. If Muse was listed as a starter, he must have been playing well in training camp and he deserves his rewards for that. The battle between these two will be very interesting, and a lot will be figured out this Saturday.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Derek Carr in his tenure with the Raiders, it’s that he loves to spread the wealth. One of his biggest strengths is that he’s able to spread the ball around to a multitude of players and keep everybody involved.
The Raiders wide receiver unit has a lot of names. With that said, only a few will be getting the luxury of a starting spot.
On the latest depth chart revealed by the Raiders, Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards and Hunter Renfrow are listed as starters. This should come as no surprise. The Raiders used some premium draft capital on Ruggs and Edwards.
Renfrow has been one of Carr’s favorite weapons in his two years with the team as well. Considering that, it makes sense the trio would be listed as starters.
Behind those three on the depth chart are some interesting names. John Brown was signed this offseason, and he’s shown the ability to produce as a starting receiver. Willie Snead and Zay Jones have impressed at times in their careers as well.
There are many very capable players competing for just a couple starting spots. This matchup against the Seahawks will go a long way in determining who wins them.
One of the starting edge rusher spots is set in stone. Yannick Ngakoue has more than proved himself, and his role in training camp so far has been more about mentorship than competing for a spot.
The spot opposite of him is completely up for grabs. Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby are the two names competing for this spot. These two have taken very different career paths so far as well. Ferrell was selected as a premium draft pick, and his play so far hasn’t warranted the 4th overall pick in 2019.
Crosby has been a complete surprise, and has impressed Raiders fans with his play so far. With that said, both are very talented players, and this will be a fun battle to watch.
Crosby has taken first team reps during training camp, and that seems to have continued with him being listed as the starter on the recent depth chart. As the backup however, Ferrell will likely get more reps in the preseason games, giving him more of an opportunity to compete for the starting job. This will be another fun battle to watch.
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