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Raiders roster reset: Where does team stand after draft?

Updated April 29, 2024 - 7:23 pm

The Raiders added eight drafted players and 16 undrafted free agents to their roster over the weekend.

Did that haul fill every roster need? No. Does the team still need a franchise quarterback? Of course. But the Raiders did check a lot of boxes and appear to have as much talent as they’ve had in years.

Here is a position-by-position look at where the team stands:

Quarterback

Starter: Aidan O’Connell

Others: Gardner Minshew, Anthony Brown, Carter Bradley

Breakdown: The Raiders wanted Louisiana State quarterback Jayden Daniels, but the Commanders selected him with the second overall pick. The team also liked Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and watched him go off the board earlier than expected to the Falcons at No. 8.

That took the Raiders out of the quarterback business. They’ll roll into the summer with O’Connell, a fourth-round pick in 2023, as their starter for now. Minshew will battle for the job as well after signing a two-year, $25 million contract with the team in free agency.

The Raiders believe either passer should give them a chance to compete next year. They’ll just need some help from the defense and supporting cast on offense.

Running back

Starter: Zamir White

Others: Alexander Mattison, Ameer Abdullah, Brittain Brown, Sincere McCormick, Tyreik McAllister, Dylan Laube

Breakdown: White was a revelation the Raiders’ last four games.

He showed off his physical running style while Josh Jacobs was injured and ran for more than 100 yards in wins against the Broncos and Chiefs. White’s next challenge is doing that for a full season.

Mattison was signed in free agency to be White’s sidekick. Abdullah is a valuable special-teams ace and third-down back. Laube, a sixth-round pick Saturday, could become Abdullah’s eventual replacement and carve out a special-teams role as a rookie.

Wide receiver

Starters: Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Michael Gallup

Others: Tre Tucker, DJ Turner, Kristian Wilkerson, Ramel Keyton, Lideatrick Griffin, Jeff Foreman

Breakdown: Adams and Meyers are a strong receiving tandem on paper, though they’ll need help from O’Connell or Minshew to reach their full potential. The club agreed to terms Monday with Gallup, who caught 34 passes for 418 yards and two touchdowns last season for the Cowboys. The 28-year-old is expected to push for considerable playing time.

Tucker is a vertical threat and could turn into a versatile weapon if he learns some of the more technical aspects of the position. The Raiders signed Keyton, Griffin and Foreman as undrafted free agents. One or more should have the chance to make the team.

Tight end

Starter: Michael Mayer

Others: Brock Bowers, Harrison Bryant, Cole Fotheringham, Zach Gentry, John Samuel Shenker

Breakdown: The Raiders have invested a lot into this position the last two years.

Mayer was a second-round pick in 2023. Bowers was taken 13th overall Thursday. They have a chance to be the best tight-end duo in the NFL if everything clicks.

Mayer is a punishing blocker and solid receiver. Bowers is an electrifying, do-it-all weapon who wreaked havoc at Georgia. Expect the Raiders to use a lot of two tight-end sets to create mismatches on offense.

Offensive line

Starters: LT Kolton Miller, LG Dylan Parham, C Andre James, RG Jackson Powers-Johnson, RT Thayer Munford.

Others: OT DJ Glaze, G Cody Whitehair, G Jordan Meredith, G Ben Brown, OT Jalen McKenzie, OT Dalton Wagner, OT Andrew Coker, G Clark Barrington, G Jake Johanning, C Will Putnam

Breakdown: One of the Raiders’ remaining question marks is at right tackle.

They waited until the third round of the draft to address the position by taking Glaze. It’ll be up to him to unseat Munford, a 2022 seventh-round pick. The Raiders could still add a more experienced right tackle in free agency as well.

The team should be excited about the interior of its offensive line after adding Powers-Johnson in the second round. New offensive coordinator Luke Getsy should be able to tap into his, Parham and James’ athleticism in the run and screen game.

Edge rushers

Starters: Maxx Crosby, Malcolm Koonce

Others: Tyree Wilson, Janarius Robinson, Elerson Smith, Charles Snowden, David Agoha, Ron Stone, Amari Gainer, TJ Franklin

Breakdown: The Raiders had a solid pass-rushing duo last season thanks to Koonce’s emergence.

He’ll be counted on to build off that performance, though Wilson may push for more playing time after his first full offseason. The Raiders could be scary up front if the seventh overall pick in 2023 lives up to his draft status.

Interior defensive line

Starters: Christian Wilkins, John Jenkins

Others: Adam Butler, Byron Young, Matthew Butler, Nesta Jade Silvera, Marquan McCall, Noah Shannon, Tomari Fox

Breakdown: It’s been years since the Raiders had an interior force like Wilkins. He should be an anchor in the run game as well as a pass-rushing force.

The Raiders brought Jenkins and Butler back on one-year deals after solid performances last season. They need Young, a 2023 third-round pick, to improve as a sophomore.

Linebacker

Starters: Robert Spillane, Divine Deablo

Others: Luke Masterson, Amari Burney, Tommy Eichenberg, Darien Butler, Kana’i Mauga

Breakdown: Spillane was a revelation last season.

He could always defend the run, but he became a good pass defender as well. He and Deablo, another effective coverage player, became a strong duo for the Raiders.

The team also has depth here after adding Burney (sixth round, 2023) and Eichenberg (fifth round, 2024) the last two drafts.

Cornerback

Starters: Jack Jones, Nate Hobbs, Jakorian Bennett

Others: Brandon Facyson, Decamerion Richardson, M.J. Devonshire, Sam Webb, Cornell Armstrong, Ja’Quan Sheppard, Rayshad Williams, Demarcus Governor

Breakdown: Hobbs and Jones are undisputed starters. But one of the Raiders’ key camp battles will be who gets the other starting spot on the outside.

Bennett, a 2023 fourth-round pick, and Facyson appear to be the leaders in the clubhouse. Two picks from this year’s draft in Richardson, a fourth rounder, and Devonshire, a seventh rounder, could be in the mix as well.

Safety

Starters: Marcus Epps, Tre’von Moehrig

Others: Isaiah Pola-Mao, Chris Smith, Trey Taylor, Jaydon Grant, Tyreque Jones, Phalen Sanford

Breakdown: Epps and Moehrig were an effective tandem last year, while Pola-Mao was used as a Swiss Army knife all over the field.

It will be a challenge for Smith and Taylor, who was taken in the seventh round Saturday, to crack that trio. They could still provide crucial depth.

Special teams

Kicker: Daniel Carlson

Punter: AJ Cole

Long snapper: Jacob Bobenmoyer

Breakdown: The Raiders are running this group back. Rightfully so.

Carlson made 86.7 percent of his field-goal attempts last season and didn’t miss an extra point. Cole made his third consecutive Pro Bowl after averaging an NFL-best 45.1 net yards per punt.

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

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