Raiders

Raiders GM Dave Ziegler Talks Competition Ahead Of Training Camp

The Las Vegas Raiders have concluded offseason activities and, while on summer break, are now looking forward to NFL training camp. General manager Dave Ziegler sat down with Eddie Paskal on Upon Further Review to share his thoughts on several topics. Chief among them is the new culture surrounding competition and what it means for the roster moving forward in 2022.

One of the interesting aspects of this new regime in Sin City is their approach to building the Raiders’ roster. Take the offensive line, for example. Unable to land a big-name free agent or acquire one via trade, Ziegler retained the entire unit from last year. Adding to that, he infused some talent through the NFL Draft. Now, it will be up to the players to compete because no one other than Kolton Miller should be guaranteed a spot. The same thing could be said for the defensive line, more specifically, the interior. Ziegler spoke regarding this concept with Paskal, sharing some insight into his process.

“It’s been a good process. I think when you look at the roster, what we tried to do—we’ve talked about it from the beginning—is build competition throughout the roster. And I think we’ve done that. When you look at our roster, there are a lot of guys competing for spots. And that was the idea: we wanted to build a competitive roster where everyone felt like they were being pushed to earn a spot, a push to be their best, and I think we’ve done that through free agency, through the draft, through college free agency, and things of that nature.”

Competition in training camp will drive the Las Vegas Raiders in 2022

Ziegler didn’t have a draft choice until the third round this year, but that didn’t impede his progress. Instead, Ziegler and his scouting department assembled an impressive draft class, all things considered. He loaded up on three positions that directly correlate with all of this “competition.” We’re talking about the running back group, the offensive line, and the interior defensive line. More importantly, Ziegler pursued versatility this offseason, especially at the two latter positions. Whether it’s on the offensive line or in Patrick Graham’s defense, you must be able to play more than one position.

“A lot of guys are competing. There’s a lot of guys making strides and growing as players and growing as professionals and things of that nature. And that’s exactly what we wanted to see.”

Ziegler didn’t shy away from the fact that there are many spots up for grabs on the roster. There are, of course, the obvious ones, such as quarterback, left tackle, middle linebacker, and tight end, that are set. The slots that Ziegler is referring to are those behind such starters. But also, ones that will have different players taking up playing time from 2021. The Raiders’ defensive tackle rotation is going to be different from last season, for example. You also have second- and third-tier positions open. Among them are the backup tight end, the third running back, and the number three and four wide receivers as well.

The pressure is on for the Raiders

“We hope that carries into training camp, and obviously, when you get into training camp, there’s a point where you’re going to have the season come up, and there are only so many spots on the roster. I think we have a competitive roster where guys are going to feel the pressure to be pushed into trying to succeed.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the roster takes shape once camp gets underway. More than likely, there’re going to be some surprising and some not-so-surprising cuts ahead of the season. These aren’t your old Raiders anymore.

*Top Photo: Courtesy of Raiders.com

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