With camp around the corner, the new-look Las Vegas Raiders will attempt to catch the eyes of head coach Josh McDaniels and Co. A few young newcomers could just be the final pieces to the puzzle. Here are three surprise offensive starters who could round out the lethal Las Vegas offensive unit.
Who from the offense will surprise folks at Raiders training camp?
Raiders’ Surprise Starter No. 1 – OG, Lester Cotton Sr.
In a loaded Raiders offense, the offensive line remains the biggest question mark. There is a lot of versatility between guys like Alex Leatherwood, John Simpson, and rookie Dylan Parham. However, this unit lacks experience. However, McDaniels and the new staff are intrigued by the line depth. At least, intrigued enough to have left the free agency market alone thus far. One name that continues to swirl around the blogs is Lester Cotton Sr. The fourth-year guard has done enough to stay around the organization since 2019 while also impressing in the recent minicamp and OTAs.
Of course, there is more to prove as the players put on the pads in training camp. However, if Cotton’s strong showing continues, he could trend towards more first-team reps and potentially a chance to plug in at guard.
Raiders’ Surprise Starter No. 2 – RB, Zamir White
The Raiders’ new regime has made a statement in the running back room. On top of signing free agent running back Brandon Bolden and fullback Jakob Johnson, they drafted Georgia’s Zamir White and UCLA’s Brittain Brown. They also made the decision to decline Josh Jacobs’ fifth-year option.
McDaniels is a big fan of the running back by committee scheme, so these decisions shocked no one. This could spell the end of Jacobs’ Raiders tenure as his rookie contract expires. It is highly unlikely that the front office will want to pay Jacobs’ top-running back money. If the staff is eager to see the future of the Raider backfield, Zeus could get the nod sooner rather than later.
Raiders’ Surprise Starter No. 3 – OL, Dylan Parham
At the peak of the 2022 Silver and Black rookie class, there is third-round offensive lineman Dylan Parham. Throughout his time at Memphis, Parham was versatile. He moved around the entire interior offensive line and provided much-needed athleticism. The young lineman could catch the eye of Raiders’ brass early on as camp battles develop and could be among the slew of names competing for guard reps.
Andre James signed a hefty contract to start at center, but Parham would be the name to watch as potential competition as Raiders training camp gets underway. It is a long shot, but the Raiders didn’t select him 90th overall for nothing.
*Top Photo: Official Raiders Website