weather icon Cloudy

3 things to watch at Raiders OTAs this week: CB battle heats up

Updated May 27, 2024 - 7:25 pm

The Raiders return to work this week for another set of organized team activities.

It’s another chance for the club to learn new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s playbook. It’ll also give players an opportunity to solidify their roles before training camp.

Here are three things to keep an eye on:

1. Cornerback competition

Two of the Raiders’ starting cornerback jobs are set.

Jack Jones will man one spot on the outside. Nate Hobbs will be in the slot. That leaves one more starting role opposite Jones up for grabs. The pecking order behind Jones and Hobbs also isn’t locked in, so players can jockey for the opportunity to be the next man up in case of an injury.

The Raiders have been quiet at cornerback this offseason outside of adding fourth-round pick Decamerion Richardson and seventh-round pick M.J. Devonshire in the draft. It’s up to the players on the roster to keep it that way. The team could look to add a veteran corner in free agency if it doesn’t like what it sees during OTAs and its mandatory minicamp.

Jakorian Bennett, a 2023 fourth-round pick, will have a large say in what direction the Raiders go.

He broke training camp as a starter last season, but experienced the normal rookie ups and downs. He also suffered hamstring and shoulder injuries that stalled his development and caused him to miss three games.

Bennett did show enough to warrant a serious look this offseason. It’ll be up to him to run with the opportunity.

If he succeeds, the Raiders do have veteran depth in Brandon Facyson. Third-year pro Sam Webb will also fight for snaps with Richardson and Devonshire.

2. Byron Young’s progress

Young, a 2023 third-round pick, was unable to crack the Raiders’ defensive tackle rotation as a rookie.

He was active for just six games and finished with four tackles.

The Raiders did have solid veterans ahead of him in John Jenkins, Bilal Nichols, Adam Butler and Jerry Tillery. But it sticks out like a sore thumb that Young finished with just 99 snaps.

There’s pressure on him to earn a role this season. The Raiders did bring in defensive tackle Christian Wilkins in free agency, but Tillery and Nichols are no longer on the roster. There is playing time available for Young to take.

It’s just a matter of him doing so.

3. Wide receiver depth

The Raiders used 11 personnel — which consists of one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers — on 64.1 percent of their offensive snaps last year.

That could lessen this season after the team selected Georgia tight end Brock Bowers with the 13th overall pick. The Raiders used 12 personnel — one running back, two tight ends and two wide receivers — 14.4 percent of the time last year. That number should go up with Bowers and 2023 second-round pick Michael Mayer both on the roster.

Still, the Raiders need a third wide receiver to emerge to complement Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers.

Second-year pro Tre Tucker flashed big-play ability as a rookie with three catches of 47 yards or more. His speed is a weapon. Now he needs to improve as a route runner to become a more complete receiver.

The Raiders also added veterans Michael Gallup and Jalen Guyton in free agency.

Gallup should push for playing time after catching 34 passes for 418 yards with the Cowboys last year. Guyton could be an experienced fifth option, though he’ll have to compete with third-year pro DJ Turner for snaps.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

Like and follow Vegas Nation