Five Takeaways From the Raiders First Depth Chart

Week 1 of training camp is in the books, which means the Oakland Raiders released their first depth chart. While there is still quite a bit of fluidity to the roster and where each player stands, the first depth chart can provide a little bit of insight of how things have gone thus far.

Jonathan Cooper leads the way at Left Guard

As expected, Richie Incognito is atop the depth chart at left guard, but he is suspended for the first two weeks. Cooper was signed by Oakland as potential fill-in for Incognito, and it appears as if all is going according to plan; I mentioned this on last week’s episode of the Fly Sweep Podcast. With Aaron Donald and the Rams coming into town for joint practices, Cooper will have an opportunity to show what he can do against one of the best in the game.

Third and Renfrow: More than a nickname

This time of year, if a coach is not talking a player up in the media, that is a bad sign. While Head Coach Jon Gruden’s comments about rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow are certainly good to hear, the comments alone don’t hold much weight because coaches are trying to be overly positive this time of year. However, Coach Gruden is backing up his comments by listing the former Clemson Tiger as the starting slot receiver, ahead of veterans like J.J. Nelson and Ryan Grant. This really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise because statistically Renfrow is the Raiders best option in the slot.

J.J. Nelson is ahead of Ryan Grant

I have been hearing rumblings about how Nelson is standing out in camp and I haven’t heard much about Grant. The former is placed behind Antonio Brown, indicating Nelson is the fourth wide receiver, and the latter seems to be playing second fiddle to Renfrow. While both players had disappointing seasons in 2018, Grant was still far more productive (334 yards vs. 67 yards), so it is a bit surprising to see the former Cardinal ahead of the former Colt. Hopefully, Nelson can continue to shine and revive his career with Oakland.

Vets lead the way on the front seven

With the exception of Clelin Ferrell, every single starter at linebacker and defensive line are the players with the most experience. Rookie Maxx Crosby might be a fan favorite, but he’s third on the depth chart behind veterans Josh Mauro and Benson Mayowa. Even last year’s standout Maurice Hurst is currently listed as a backup.

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Vontaze Burfict probably knows defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s playbook better than anyone on the roster, so it’s not too much of a surprise that he’s a starter at this point. However, don’t be surprised if Jason Cabinda usurps Burfict and starts Week 1. I imagine there will be quite a bit of fluidity when it comes to the front seven this season.

Nick Nelson’s hot seat cooling down?

After Oakland added cornerbacks Nevin Lawson, Trayvon Mullen, and Isaiah Johnson; Nelson has to feel at least a little bit of heat. What’s comforting for last year’s fourth-round pick is he is currently listed second on the team’s depth chart. It looks like the back-up cornerback role is Nelson’s to lose.

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This Saturday against the Rams will be the first chance for fans to see what the players above have to offer. For the players, coaches and fans alike, hopefully the team doesn’t disappoint!

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