The Raiders’ first and only depth chart of the preseason was released on Monday, but head coach Jack Del Rio made it officially unofficial the afternoon prior. He admits to playing no part in its creation, and won’t until the start of the regular season.
The depth chart listed below is not a progress report from Del Rio’s perspective. He made that perfectly clear on Sunday.
“The biggest thing you can get out of the depth chart that’s going to be released (Monday) is how much (Raiders media relations director) Will (Kiss) has been paying attention,” Del Rio said. “I’m just going to be honest with you. It’s Will taking a stab at it, and it’s going to be fine until the season gets here. It’s not going to really be my list until the season gets here, so whatever he put down, good for Will. If he’s been watching, we’ll be in good shape.”
Kiss did a pretty good job. It’s hard to argue with many of the selections, which have been pronounced with player involvement on first, second, third and fourth units during the first nine days of Raiders training camp.
There is obviously room for fluctuation over the course of four preseason games. Health will play a factor, as it has early in this camp. Receiver Rod Streater and tight end Clive Walford are expected to be major contributors during the regular season, but are down on the depth chart because they haven’t practiced with the full squad yet this camp.
Let’s go over select position groups, and discuss how the depth chart (listed at the bottom of the page) might shake out.
-- Barring injury, Crabtree and Cooper are the starters. Thompkins has been playing in the slot as the third option and Holmes has consistently been a second teamer. Streater is missing valuable time, but he’s a pro and should be able to claim that third position despite the fact that he’s learning a new scheme.
-- Converted tackle J’Marcus Webb has taken every first-team rep at right guard this camp, but must earn a starting job with solid game performance. Rookie fourth-round pick Jon Feliciano was thought to be in the mix for the right guard job, but he isn’t a contender at this stage. He’s been a second-team left guard thus far, with minimal reps on the right. He could be a swing guard this season. Khalif Barnes has worked at tackle during camp, but he’s a solid utility player and could fill in at right guard if Webb really struggles.
-- Lee Smith is accurately listed as the top tight end. He’ll primarily be a blocking option, but he could “start” – that’s only the first play in a game – quite a bit. He’ll play quite a bit as well. Walford could leapfrog Rivera when he returns to practice this week. The team has high hopes for him, though Rivera has looked good with the first team in training camp.
-- Derek Carr is the starter. That’s of little doubt. Christian Ponder was brought in to be the backup, but Matt McGloin will put up a fight during the preseason. That’s his nature. He’s looked better thus far, and games will paint a clearer picture of who will be the No. 2 guy during the regular season.
-- Trent Richardson is listed as No. 2 on the depth chart, a position held with Roy Helu out most of camp with injury. Richardson should see a ton of snaps during the preseason, and will have to earn a roster spot with production. He hasn’t looked great during practice, though things are often different in live action. Taiwan Jones has turned some heads in camp, but ball security has been his issue. He’ll have to hold on to the football to earn a creative role on offense.
-- Finally, Khalil Mack has been listed as a defensive end. He was considered a linebacker despite taking virtually every practice rep at defensive end. He’ll move around some, but that’ll be his primary post opposite Justin Tuck. Mario Edwards Jr. is off to a solid start, and should be a rotating contributor if he continues to develop.
The depth chart doesn’t show the nickel front, which should be Mack and Benson Mayowa at end, with Tuck and Edwards as interior pass rushers.
-- Sio Moore has missed significant time with injury in the offseason program and a few practices in camp, but has consistently been a second-unit player when active. Smith has been above him, though that may not last in the regular season. Moore and Smith have the ability to play on the strong side. The coaches like Ray-Ray Armstrong, who has taken a ton of first-team reps.
-- DJ Hayden was listed ahead of Keith McGill on the depth chart, which might be a tough sell at this stage. McGill has taken more first-team reps on the outside, though Hayden has been encroaching on that territory in recent days. Hayden has also played in the slot during sub packages, so both guys will be heavily involved. TJ Carrie has been the strongest cornerback thus far and seems to be secure with the first unit.
Here’s the Raiders unofficial depth chart in its entirety. Let us know what you think of this ordering in the comments section below:
WR: 15 Michael Crabtree, 85 Kenbrell Thompkins, 10 Seth Roberts, 83 Kris Durham, [80 Rod Streater], 19 Josh Harper
LT: 72 Donald Penn, 69 Khalif Barnes, 79 Anthony Morris
LG: 66 Gabe Jackson, 68 Jon Feliciano, 74 Mitch Bell
C: 61 Rodney Hudson, 70 Tony Bergstrom, 63 Lamar Mady
RG: 76 J’Marcus Webb, 73 Matt McCants, 67 Quinterrius Eatmon
RT: 71 Menelik Watson, 77 Austin Howard, 65 Dan Kistler
TE: 86 Lee Smith, 81 Mychal Rivera, 88 Clive Walford, 87 Brian Leonhardt, 82 Gabe Holmes
WR: 89 Amari Cooper, 18 Andre Holmes, 12 Brice Butler, 17 Milton Williams III, 13 Austin Willis, 16 Trindon Holliday
QB: 4 Derek Carr, 9 Christian Ponder, 14 Matt McGloin, 8 Cody Fajardo
RB: 28 Latavius Murray, 33 Trent Richardson, 26 Roy Helu Jr., 22 Taiwan Jones, 40 Michael Dyer, 34 George Atkinson
FB: 45 Marcel Reece 49, Jamize Olawale
DE: 91 Justin Tuck, 97 Mario Edwards Jr., 96 Denico Autry
DT: 90 Dan Williams, 98 C.J. Wilson, 93 Ricky Lumpkin
NT: 78 Justin Ellis 92, Stacy McGee 99, Leon Orr
DE: 52 Khalil Mack, 95 Benson Mayowa, 75 Shelby Harris, 94 Max Valles
OLB: 57 Ray-Ray Armstrong, 58 Neiron Ball, 54 Gary Wilkins 47, Josh Shirley
MLB: 50 Curtis Lofton, 51 Ben Heeney, 48 Spencer Hadley, 56 Chase Williams
OLB: 53 Malcolm Smith, 55 Sio Moore 46, Horace Miller
LCB: 25 DJ Hayden, 39 Keith McGill, 41 James Dockery, 30 Sa’Qwan Edwards, 35 Chimdi Chekwa
RCB: 38 TJ Carrie, 31 Neiko Thorpe, 36 Ras-I Dowling, 21 Dexter McDonald, 32 Rob Daniel
FS: 20 Nate Allen, 29 Brandian Ross, 23 Jonathan Dowling, 37 Tevin McDonald
SS: 24 Charles Woodson, 42 Larry Asante, 43 Jimmy Hall
P: 7 Marquette King 2, Steven Clark
K: 11 Sebastian Janikowski, 6 Giorgio Tevecchio
H: 7 Marquette King, 9 Christian Ponder
LS: 59 Jon Condo, 86 Lee Smith, 48 Spencer Hadley
KR: 16 Trindon Holliday, 28 Latavius Murray
PR: 16 Trindon Holliday, 38 TJ Carrie