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An up-close look at the Raiders offensive depth chart

Updated May 6, 2023 - 3:56 pm

To put into perspective how much things have changed for the Raiders since general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels took over 16 months ago, only 14 players from the roster they inherited remain with the team.

On offense, the massive changeover includes a complete overhaul of the quarterback and tight end positions and a near-full turning over at wide receiver.

In the first of a two-part series, we take a position-by-position look at the offense depth chart.

Quarterback

Starter: Jimmy Garoppolo

In reserve: Brian Hoyer, Aidan O’Connell, Chase Garbers

The lowdown: Garoppolo was brought in on the first day of free agency to stabilize the position after the Raiders moved on from longtime quarterback Derek Carr. Garoppolo brings a winning pedigree — a 40-17 record as a starter, two trips to the NFC championship game and a trip to the Super Bowl in 2020. His grasp of McDaniels’ offense and efficiency in the red zone could boost the offense in the short term.

Much of that is predicated on Garoppolo staying healthy, which has been a career-long issue. If he goes down for any significant amount of time, the Raiders could be in trouble.

Hoyer is an excellent voice and veteran presence, and in a pinch, he can keep the offensive operation afloat. But if he’s asked to play extended time, the Raiders will feel it.

Ideally, Hoyer can serve as a mentor to O’Connell, a rookie from Purdue drafted in the fourth round, and get him up to speed enough to step in for Garoppolo should he go down with an injury.

Garbers was with the club last season, mostly on the practice squad, and will have a fight on his hands to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

Running back

Starter: Josh Jacobs

In reserve: Zamir White, Jakob Johnson, Brandon Bolden, Ameer Abdullah, Brittain Brown, Austin Walter, Sincere McCormick

The lowdown: Josh Jacobs led the NFL with 1,653 yards last season, pushing him into the top five among his league colleagues. But his Pro Bowl-caliber play also created a differing of opinion on his monetary value. Jacobs and the club were unable to come to terms on a long-term deal, resulting in the Raiders applying the franchise tag on him.

Jacobs has not signed the tag and has not participated in the offseason program. The sides have until July 15 to work out a new deal, but unless a resolution is achieved, Jacobs will have to play this season on the terms of the deal at $10.09 million.

White and Brown are 2022 draft picks who essentially redshirted as rookies. The Jacobs situation gives both the opportunity to get starter reps during organized team activities and, depending on how long things drag out, potentially into training camp and beyond. Even when Jacobs gets back onto the field, expect the roles of one or both to increase.

Johnson is purely a fullback and a great resource as a run blocker. Abdullah earned a new contract after an effective first season with the Raiders. He and Bolden are valuable as veteran presences in the locker room, capable role players and versatile special teams leaders.

Wide receiver

Starters: Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Hunter Renfrow

In reserve: DeAndre Carter, Phillip Dorsett, DJ Turner, Keelan Cole, Tre Tucker, Cam Sims, Chris Lacy

The lowdown: Adams was everything the Raiders expected last season after they sent a first- and second-round draft pick to acquire him from the Packers. In putting up 100 catches, 1,516 yards and 14 touchdowns, he more than justified the investment and shows no signs of slowing down.

It will be interesting to see how the Raiders recalibrate their passing attack with the addition of Meyers, the Patriots’ No. 1 wide receiver option the past two seasons. He had a combined 150 catches for 1,670 yards, but will now play the No. 2 role to Adams.

The Raiders are counting on Meyers’ availability and understanding of the offense to enhance the passing game, specifically in problem areas such as the red zone and in extending drives on third downs.

The wild card is Renfrow, who labored through an injury-riddled 2022 season. The Raiders envision Renfrow and Meyers forming a slot-receiver tandem that replicates the Julian Edelman-Danny Amendola model in New England.

Dorsett and Carter were added via free agency. Dorsett adds the element of speed. Carter is coming off a career-high 46 catches and 538 yards last season with the Chargers. He also adds value in the return game on special teams.

Tucker, a third-round pick out of Cincinnati, is a long-play addition as a potential replacement for Renfrow.

Tight end

Starter: Austin Hooper

In reserve: Michael Mayer, O.J. Howard, Jesper Horsted, Cole Fotheringham, John Samuel Shenker

The lowdown: Only Horsted, a little-used reserve last season, returns at tight end after the trade of Darren Waller and the health of Foster Moreau, who is taking this season off to deal with the Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis that was detected during a free-agent visit with the Saints.

The Raiders added Hooper and Howard on one-year deals in free agency. Hooper, in particular, has a chance to play a major role in an offense more conducive to utilizing the tight end position.

The biggest addition, though, is Mayer, a rookie from Notre Dame who amassed 180 catches, 2,099 yards and 18 touchdowns in an illustrious three-year career. He will immediately push for the starting job, or at the least serve as a complement to Hooper.

Offensive line

Starters: LT Kolton Miller, LG Dylan Parham, C Andre James, RG Alex Bars, RT Jermaine Eluemunor

In reserve: T Thayer Munford, T Brandon Parker, T Justin Herron, T Dalton Wagner, C Hroniss Grasu, G Netane Muti, G McClendon Curtis, OT G Jordan Meredith, G Vitaly Gurman

The lowdown: The offensive line overachieved last season, going from perceived weakness to reliability by year’s end. But expect intense competition for starting jobs at right guard and right tackle among current players and potential reinforcements.

Eluemunor turned into a reliable starter at right tackle last season, but he will be pushed by Munford, now in his second season, and Herron, whom the Raiders traded for in September before he was lost to a season-ending knee injury.

Eluemunor is also a candidate to slide over to right guard, where an upgrade is needed over Bars. Keep an eye on Curtis, a priority undrafted free-agent pickup from Tennessee-Chattanooga who has a chance to push for a starting job.

Parham projects as a quality NFL center, but his move to that position is predicated on finding a replacement for him at guard. If Curtis — or someone else — show they can handle that position, it makes moving Parham to center more feasible.

This is not a perfect group by any means — though Miller is as good at it gets at left tackle. But the Raiders have done a good job building a reliable unit to feel comfortable entering the season.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore atvbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

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