The Las Vegas Raiders start their preseason against the San Francisco 49ers on August 13th. No, this article isn’t part of my continued campaign to drastically reduce the cost of preseason tickets. Instead, let’s turn our attention to the ever-evolving Las Vegas roster.
This offseason, Josh McDaniels and Co. turned numerous glaring holes into, well, less glaring holes. Sure, particular position groups are more fleshed out than at the beginning of the 2022 season, but depth does not equate to results.
Ask the L.A. Clippers.
But enough kicking myself. Let’s examine some names that need to stand out when the preseason rolls around.
The “Gods” Must Be Crazy!
Zamir White, RB
The man they call “Zeus” could have his work cut out for him. As of this writing, the Raiders and All-Pro running back Josh Jacobs have yet to come to an agreement on his return. While it is very likely that we will see Jacobs when the games start to matter, nothing is certain at this point.
It could be why Las Vegas spent a fourth-round pick on White in the first place. After declining Jacobs’ fifth-year option, McDaniels and Dave Ziegler selected an heir apparent of sorts. The only issue is what we saw from the small sample size last season.
The Georgia product toted the rock 17 times for 70 yards. Four yards per carry is respectable for a rookie, but the lack of vision on those carries was alarming. White will see his fair share of touches this preseason, and we can only hope he looks like the player that Ziegler was willing to dump Josh Jacobs for.
Raiders Must Get The Ball To Tucker…
Tre Tucker, WR
Take it from Coach Wittenberg.
After the Raiders paid a nice bit of coin to bring in former Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers, many assumed their group of wideouts was complete. The draft only complicated matters when the Silver and Black selected Tre Tucker with one of its third-round picks. Surely the Raiders would trade Hunter Renfrow to make room for the incumbent rookie in the slot, right? Wishful thinking.
The Cincinnati product is looking at a steep hill to climb on the depth chart. Even though the coaching staff sees potential in Tucker as a returner, he’ll have to outperform a known return man in DeAndre Carter to secure the spot. Needless to say, things will really need to go the Tre Way.
I’ll see myself out.
Vegas Is Seeing Steady Improvement From A Former Seventh-Round Pick
Thayer Munford Jr., OL
Thayer Munford was seen as a late-round steal before injuries derailed his debut campaign. The former seventh-round pick returns to a tackle room with a mix of new and familiar faces. None of which the Ohio State product should be intimidated by.
That being said, the onus is still on Munford to re-establish himself as a favorite to start opposite Kolton Miller when the season begins. If he continues impressing at training camp, the coaching staff will give No. 77 plenty of chances to shine.
Can Luke Become A “Force” For The Raiders?
Luke Masterson, LB
Luke Masterson wasn’t supposed to see as much of the field as he did during the 2022 season. Injuries plagued the linebacker core and thrust the undrafted rookie into action early and often. After racking up 59 tackles over seven starts last year, this season sees Masterson in a position to be the starter on the strong side for the defense. And with Divine Deablo’s track record, Masterson’s time could increase.
That is if the preseason showcases the growth we expect from the Wake Forest product. Few groups on the Raiders roster are as big of a question mark as the linebackers, but a strong preseason from No. 59 will help ease some of that concern.
The Small Soldier
Amik Robertson, CB
With the signing of Oakland native Marcus Peters, the cornerback room is becoming quite crowded. Ideally, Peters would start opposite rookie Jakorian Bennett or fellow free agent signee David Long Jr., allowing Nate Hobbs to thrive in the slot.
Amik Robertson certainly has the fight to throw his name into the ring, but the redundancies of the talent he has acquired could be to his detriment. Las Vegas also signed Duke Shelley, another sub-5’10” cornerback. If the former Viking is what some believe he can be on the outside and in the slot, the log jam could become too much for Robertson.
He survived a tumultuous preseason in 2022, but the depth at the position is much different now. Playtime is over for the Louisiana Tech alum.
*Top Photo: Fan Nation/Raiders Today