Training camp is finally here. They allow tackling there and everything. Around the League will count down the top 30 position battles to watch throughout the preseason.
Position Battle No. 3: The Oakland Raiders
â¢ Okay, so we got a little creative with this one. In making our original list for this top-30 countdown, we had so many Raiders battles that we decided to combine them all into one.
â¢ The Oakland Raiders are such a fascinating team. There is plenty of talent, competition and change at every level of the organization. There is renewed competence in the front office. This is a transition year, but this team really couldn't surprise. Anything from 5-11 to 11-5 feels possible.
â¢ Let's start our battles tour at tight end. The Raiders say they want to feature the position more, but they only have David Ausberry, Richard Gordon and Brandon Myers at the position. Ausberry has the most upside as a receiver. Gordon is more of a blocker.
â¢ We don't believe the Raiders will win the AFC West because of their cornerbacks. Shawntae Spencer and Ronald Bartell are veterans that were cut for a reason last year. DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa for the old Oakland scheme and didn't play well last year. This position is a grab bag, and we're not sure there are any right answers for coach Dennis Allen.
â¢ Backup running back figures to come down to Taiwan Jones and Mike Goodson. Considering Darren McFadden's injury history, the Raiders should invest in another veteran for insurance. Cedric Benson has been mentioned.
â¢ You could argue all three Raiders linebacker spots are up for grabs. Aaron Curry, Rolando McClain, and Philip Wheeler are the favorites to start. But Curry is unreliable, especially in pass protection. Wheeler is learning a new system after joining the team from Indianapolis. He's an average linebacker. McClain has been a big disappointment on the field and an even bigger problem off the field.
Travis Goethel could wind up starting at middle linebacker and competing for snaps on the outside. The same is true for fourth-round pick Miles Burris. This is a reboot of the Raiders. Don't assume anything.