Editor’s note: Insider Scott Bair will analyze each position group leading up to Raiders training camp, which starts on July 29.
Raiders rookies, quarterbacks and players injured at least part of the offseason program reported to training camp on Sunday.
Reggie Nelson and Karl Joseph were in that group, and practiced in some capacity on the first day to do so. That’s a good sign, considering both guys missed the offseason program. Joseph was rehabbing after ACL surgery, and Nelson was out with a lower leg injury.
Renewed health is important for those guys, expected to start at safety this season. Nelson was signed away from Cincinnati this offseason after tying for the league lead with eight interceptions in 2015. The Raiders drafted Joseph No. 14 overall, fully confident he would recover fully from a torn ACL during his senior season at West Virginia.
Nelson and Joseph could form a formidable duo at safety, with Nate Allen around as a another quality option heading into the 2016 season.
- Reggie Nelson
- Karl Joseph
- Nate Allen
- Brynden Trawick
- Dewey McDonald
- Keith McGill
- Chris Edwards
1. Who replaces Charles Woodson?
That isn’t a job for one man. Woodson was an All-Pro and Pro Bowler even in his final NFL season, playing excellent football despite a nagging shoulder injury suffered in Week 1. He was a producer, sage and team leader who inspired younger players. From a leadership perspective, several will carry the torch. On the field, Nelson’s ball-hawk ability and Joseph’s big hits could fortify the safety spot this season.
2. Should Karl Joseph start right away?
The Raiders didn’t draft Joseph 14th overall to have him sit on the bench. He will have to earn a starting role, and should be given every opportunity to do so with a strong training camp. Coaches love Joseph’s talent and work ethic, and believe he’ll be an impactful pro. NFL football isn’t easy, and he must prove he belongs this preseason. The Raiders won't push his rehab and treatment to get him into the starting lineup, making sure he's fully healthy before playing in games.
3. How does Nate Allen fit in?
Nate Allen is an established veteran with 72 starts to his credit. He’s been a frontline player his whole career, a role expected as a Raider in 2015. He suffered a knee injury in Week 1 that impeded that end and limited his activity. Allen is back to health, and certainly won’t roll over and let Joseph start. Allen could earn a starting role or offer excellent injury protection should a starter go down.