The Las Vegas Raiders released their first depth charts for offense and defense in anticipation of their game with the Jacksonville Jaguars. So, we’re going to look at three unsettled positions that stand out from this recent development.
Mack Hollins leads the battle for Raiders’ WR3
Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow are locked for the top two spots on the Raiders’ depth chart. However, the third receiver spot is a battle. That battle is being led by free agent signing Mack Hollins. Behind him are Demarcus Robinson, Keelan Cole, and Tyron Johnson.
Hollins leading the group isn’t surprising. His name has been brought up consistently by his coaches and teammates. Cole and Robinson have had some success in their NFL careers, while Johnson has had zero NFL starts this year. Among this group last year, Cole led in receptions (28) while Hollins led in touchdowns (4). With camp now giving way to the preseason, Hollins seems poised to hold onto his position atop this group.
The cornerback battle is heating up
While Rock Ya-Sin and Nate Hobbs (nickel) are number one and two on the depth chart, it may look different by the season’s end. Someone to consider is Trayvon Mullen, who has started every game when healthy over the last two seasons. Mullen missed 11 games last year and has yet to practice this season. When he returns, he’ll have a bit of catching up to do. With a new head coach, missing time, and entering the final year of his deal, Mullen needs a big year if he wants a second contract with the Raiders.
Another name to watch is Anthony Averett, who’s making his presence felt at camp. Averett was picked up in the offseason from the Baltimore Ravens and has thus far done enough to be the third cornerback on the depth chart. With his current position, he’s poised to play a lot of snaps, especially with the Raiders wanting to run a nickel-heavy scheme. Mullen and Averett are guys to watch as the season continues, and if they don’t overtake Hobbs or Ya-Sin, they provide valuable depth in the secondary.
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) August 2, 2022
Is the O-line finally taking shape?
From left to right, the Raiders’ offensive line depth chart reads: Kolton Miller, John Simpson, Andre James, Lester Cotton Sr., and Alex Leatherwood. I’ll let you breathe and tell you (in Aaron Rodgers’ voice) to relax. Now, I’ll give you my takeaway from this depth chart: yikes. While Miller has been solid and steady, the rest of this line comes with its question marks.
Simpson had his struggles last year, but the third-year veteran leads the battle between him and rookie Dylan Parham. Andre James found his footing as the season went on, so maybe he can continue to improve in Year 2 as a starter. Cotton Sr. is a camp favorite, praised for his work ethic. The third-year guard probably remains the starter heading into Week 1. Now onto Leatherwood. He struggled mightily at right tackle last year before moving inside to guard. That’s not to say he was any better there, either. However, he showed improvement. With a year under his belt, an offseason to work on things and a head coach in Josh Mcdaniels, who’s known for having a hand in fielding top offensive lines, Leatherwood may solidify himself.
Prediction moving forward
Personally speaking, Hollins locks down the third receiver spot the rest of the way. At cornerback, Hobbs’ position is solidified in my opinion. Ya-Sin, Mullen, and Averett will see some shuffling between each other throughout the season. However, Week 1 will mirror the current depth chart. On the offensive line, Parham will take a guard spot during the season.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images