A month from today, all players will be in training camp. Between Hard Knocks and the multitude of position battles, camp for the Oakland Raiders should be entertaining. Two of the more interesting position battles heading into camp are at tight end and slot receiver.
Last season, the Raiders’ lone Pro Bowler was tight end Jared Cook. However, the veteran tight end left for New Orleans in free agency. After the draft, Oakland decided to release tight end Lee Smith, leaving two spots open on the depth chart. It will be interesting to see how head coach Jon Gruden decides to address the position.
If Gruden follows the model from last year, rookie Foster Moreau can fill in for Smith and Darren Waller can step up to replace Cook. While Moreau has a reputation as a run blocking tight end, at the combine and throughout the draft process, he proved to be more athletic than expected. If the rookie can prove to be an effective weapon in the passing game, he can lock down the tight end position and become a draft day steal.
Outside of Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, there aren’t any locks at wide receiver to make the Raiders roster. Heading into training camp, veteran J.J. Nelson will likely be the starter. While Nelson has the experience, he was virtually unproductive last season and lost playing time to rookie Christian Kirk. The next veteran would be Ryan Grant who has showed promise in the past. Unfortunately, injuries hampered him in 2018 and the Colts felt there were better options available. This leaves the door wide open for rookies Hunter Renfrow and Keelan Doss, to not only make the team, but receive a significant amount of playing time.
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Listen to the Fly Sweep Podcast below to hear Matt and Ray Aspuria discuss the topic above, as well as to talk about Rodney Hudson’s contract and weigh in on Derek Carr’s MVP candidacy!Â Comment with the training camp battles you are looking forward to!