2018 Oakland Raiders Depth Chart
|Quarterback||Derek Carr||AJ McCarron|
|Running Back||Doug Martin||Jalen Richard||DeAndre Washington|
|Left Wide Receiver||Jordy Nelson||Brandon Lafell||Seth Roberts|
|Right Wide Receiver||Martavis Bryant||Dwayne Harris|
|Tight End||Jared Cook||Lee Smith||Derek Carrier|
|Full Back||Keith Smith|
|Left Tackle||Kolton Miller||Chaz Green|
|Left Guard||Kelechi Osemele||Denver Kirkland|
|Center||Rodney Hudson||Jon Feliciano|
|Right Guard||Gabe Jackson|
|Right Tackle||Brandon Parker||Justin Murray|
Jon Gruden returns to coaching after a 10-year hiatus. A surprise trade landed Gruden in Tampa Bay for the 2003 season. He would reign victorious over his former team and become the youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl. While bad blood and turmoil seemed to write the script for the relationship between the Raiders and Gruden, both sides have let the dust settle and are ready for advancement. Gruden got busy the minute the clock struck on open free-agency, trading draft picks and player talents to beef his roster.
Gruden has spent time outside the head coaching role in defensive positions. He is a defense-minded coach who favors this side of the football. The roster moves the team made in the off-season would confirm this stance. Gruden had little to work with in terms of a solidified roster. He had few playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, one of which is still undecided if he will dress in the silver and black this season. Contract disputes with All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack are still ongoing. This back-and-forth game will likely lead for Mack to miss the start of the season, calling for more support at this timely defensive position. Gruden was able to pull at both outside backer positions and fill the middle with role players. Three of the players the team brought in this off-season will slot into starting roles. Bruce Irvin fills an outside role, tailoring his game to flex features that assist the outside end positions. Irvin is a practiced professional and understands defensive make-ups. He can read the offense and offers some leadership capabilities at his position. The same can be said for middle-filler, Derrick Johnson. Johnson spent his career in Kansas City. He became an unrestricted free-agent this off-season and was primed for a fresh start. While age remains a concern for this 14-year pro, he still has plenty in left in the tank. The youngest addition came from Detroit in Tahir Whitehead. Whitehead will fill the weakside role and will benefit from the teaching and leadership of Johnson in the middle. All three of these additions represent immediate, serviceable players.
To take the defensive depth boost to the second level, the secondary also got in on the addition party. The team will trot out a complete secondary with back-up roles also being worked with. The cornerback position saw the highest rate of new faces this off-season. The list of player signings is extensive, but some of the most recognizable include: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Leon Hall, Rashaan Melvin, and Shareece Wright. The defensive coordinator is afforded the luxury of getting to pool from this grouping of talent to select the pieces that will give them the best opportunity to outperform offensive threats. The safety position was also boosted with the likes of Reggie Nelson and Marcus Gilcrest climbing aboard. The defense was a hot and heavy topic of discussion this off-season. Gruden stepped up to the plate and worked with management to keep this defensive attack well-versed in terms of depth, perceived production, and other such tangibles.
The offense was another area desperately in need of a calling-card. Gruden once again answered the bell with free-agent signings and building through the draft. Applying the notion of gaining Derek Carr more targets, the team made a splash with the addition of Jordy Nelson. Nelson was placed within a role that gave his game a deeper purpose. Being slotted with one of the best quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers afforded the Kansas State product some gaudy numbers and high-traffic in terms of looks. Finding a seasoned talent for Carr to work with is key to his development as a signal-caller. They also boosted their running back depth when they signed Doug Martin from Tampa Bay. Martin is the change-of-pace back that gives Marshawn Lynch the ability to reduce his usage as he ages. The team re-built the line through the draft, adding weak-side support and strong-side help within the first and second rounds of the draft. This will help protect Carr at a better clip, creating time for him to operate within the pocket.
The ultimate goal for the team this off-season was to increase their depth. They accomplished this at an impressive clip. No comes the time to get the Khalil Mack situation worked out and help their talent come together as a single unit. The threats and weapons they possess at each position will only be as good as the talents they are slotted alongside of. Each member of this squad is going to have to use their experience the right the passage way for post-season hopes.