[Chart last updated 7/8/14]
• The Raiders invested a lot in their front seven this year and, while we don’t have any of the new additions higher than light green, adding the likes of Lamarr Woodley, Justin Tuck, Antonio Smith and rookie Khalil Mack should make things exciting for Raiders fans in 2014.
• You don’t want to be saying that you haven’t seen enough of a 2013 first-round draft pick a year on, but with D.J. Hayden playing just 353 snaps last year, that’s where we are. More of a concern is that there have been reports that he won’t be ready to go until the start of training camp, meaning you have a player who needs all the reps he can get currently falling behind.
• As well as having just one high quality starter on the roster, the Raiders also have the issue of having questionable depth. There are 19 players currently listed as backups that are either rookies, or players we just haven’t seen enough of to judge. How they perform when needed will have a big impact on the Raiders’ season.
• How the Raiders attack opposing offenses on third down will be interesting, with the early indication being that Pat Sims would come off the field and they would use Woodley, Tuck, Smith and Mack to get after the quarterback.
Matt Schaub was acquired via trade with the assumption that he would be the team’s starter in 2014, but is that a given? Drafting Derek Carr in the second round of the NFL Draft made things less clear cut and, while Schaub may ultimately end up winning the job, I won’t be surprised to see Carr starting before the season comes to an end.
2. Left Guard
While second-round draft pick may have to wait until later in the year to start, it would be even less of a surprise if third-rounder Gabe Jackson wasn’t starting on the Raiders’ offensive line in his rookie year. He’s battling it out with veteran Khalif Barnes but, if Barnes’ starts at left guard late in 2013 are anything to go by, Jackson will only need to be solid to prove to be a better option than him.
3. Wide Receiver
I liked the signing of James Jones from the Green Bay Packers, but I do question how the rest of their wide receiver depth chart will stack up. Rod Streater and Denarius Moore look set to be their second and third targets, but I really liked the flashes of potential we saw from Andre Holmes. A big target who had a big game against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, he may surprise some people if he gets a chance. They recently signed former Browns pass catcher Greg Little, but his trouble with drops throughout his career still prevent me from thinking he can offer much.
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