Raiders release first depth chart of camp

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Raiders release first depth chart of camp

NAPA -- The Raiders have issued their first depth chart of training camp and no, Kyle Newhall-Caballero has not unseated Carson Palmer as the Raiders' first-string quarterback. In fact, there are no real surprises among the starters on this depth chart, not with injuries playing a role so early in camp. It is interesting to note, though, that Jacoby Ford is listed as both the punt and kickoff returner and that Tommy Kelly is listed as a nose tackle in a 4-3 defense.

GUTIERREZ: Raiders camp summary (86): Hitting to ground makes appearance
A week before Oakland plays host to the Dallas Cowboys in each team's exhibition opener, following, then, is the Raiders' depth chartOFFENSE
WR: Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, Rod Streater, Travionte Session, Duke Calhoun, DeAundre Muhammad
LT: Jared Veldheer, Zach Hurd, Ed Wang
LG: Cooper Carlisle, Tony Bergstrom, Nick Howell
C: Stefen Wisniewski, Alex Parsons, Colin Miller
RG: Mike Brisiel, Lucas Nix, Kevin Haslam
RT: Khalif Barnes, Joe Barksdale, Dan Knapp
TE: Brandon Myers, Richard Gordon, David Ausberry, Kyle Efaw, Tory Humphrey
WR: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Eddie McGee, Juron Criner, Derek Carrier, Brandon Carswell, Thomas Mayo
QB: Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Terrelle Pryor, Kyle Newhall-Caballero
RB: Darren McFadden, Taiwan Jones, Mike Goodson, Lonyae Miller
FB: Marcel Reece, Owen Schmitt, Manase Tonga, Rashawn Jackson
DEFENSE
RE: Matt Shaughnessy, David Tollefson, Mason Brodine, Wayne Dorsey
DT: Richard Seymour, Desmond Bryant, Christo Bilukidi
NT: Tommy Kelly, Jamie Cumbie, Dominique Hamilton
LE: Lamarr Houston, Jack Crawford, Hall Davis
WLB: Miles Burris, Chad Kilgore, Mario Kurn
MLB: Rolando McClain, Travis Goethel, Nathan Stupar
SLB: Philip Wheeler, Carl Ihenacho, Kaelin BurnettGUTIERREZ: Is Wheeler a playmaker at SAM linebacker?
RCB: Shawntae Spencer, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Bryan McCann, Terrail Lambert
LCB: Ron Bartell, Chimdi Chekwa, Pat Lee, Conroy Black
FS: Michael Huff, Matt Giordano, Brandon Underwood, Chaz Powell
SS: Tyvon Branch, Mike Mitchell, Curtis Taylor, Aaron Henry
SPECIAL TEAMSP: Marquette King
PK: Sebastian Janikowski, Eddy Carmona
H: Marquette King, Matt Leinart
LS: Jon Condo
KR: Jacoby Ford, Taiwan Jones, Bryan McCann, DeAundre Muhammad, Derek Carrier
PR: Jacoby Ford, Denarius Moore, Bryan McCann, Juron Criner, DeAundre Muhammad
ActivePhysically Unable to Perform -- WLB Aaron Curry
ActiveNon-Football Injury -- P Shane Lechler

McKenzie focuses Raiders' 2017 draft on defense, beefs up secondary

McKenzie focuses Raiders' 2017 draft on defense, beefs up secondary

ALAMEDA – Raiders general manger Reggie McKenzie made nine selections in this weekend’s NFL draft. That was a requirement given the state of his roster, featuring a stacked offense and a Swiss-cheese defense. It has holes.

He spent significant draft capital trying to upgrade the middle of his defense especially, adding three defensive backs, two defensive tackles and a fifth-round pick in Marquel Lee who will compete to start at middle linebacker.

He needs a few immediate impact players on the defensive group headlined by first-round cornerback Gareon Conley and second-round safety Obi Melifonwu.

“How much do I think I can get out of this group? I hope a lot,” McKenzie said Saturday after the NFL draft was complete. “They’re all going to come in and compete. We’re signing guys post-draft also. We’re going to give them all the opportunity to compete with the veterans that we already have on board. We hope that out of it all, the competition part of it, the cream rises and we have a very good 53-man roster.”

McKenzie follows a draft board thoroughly constructed through hundreds of scouting reports and cross checks, and extensive evaluation at combines and pro days. He trusts it. It has certainly treated him well before, which productive hauls in 2014 and 2015 especially.

While he lost out on some likable players taken before his slot, McKenzie believes the Raiders added quality and depth in previously lacking position groups. He stuck with size and athleticism at times over college production and, as always, beefed up both the offensive and defensive lines.

“I think the way it fell, we got a lot of players, at the end of the day, it looks like we needed,” he said. “We felt like we got a lot of good players with high talent levels from top to bottom. Some are going to be more raw than others. We’re going to have to see down the line, more so. I think talking to the board, you said, ‘Job well done.’”

McKenzie also focused on fixing a lackluster pass defense with speed. Conley can be a shutdown cornerback outside or in the slot. Melifonwu is a heavy hitter who can play both safety spots and is expected to contribute as a rookie. The secondary must improve to prevent big plays and help Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin get after the quarterback.

“You have to have speed to play the game the way it’s going now,” McKenzie said. “You have to be able to play in space. You have to be able to match up. We took all of that into consideration when we brought these players in. To the players that you mentioned, Obi and Conley, both of those guys have great range, speed, very athletic. So, they make tackles in space. That’s one of the things that we looked at. Make sure short to medium plays don’t turn into big plays. I think they will help in that scenario.”

Here’s a full list of Raiders draft picks:

Round 1 (No. 24 overall): CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
Round 2 (No. 56 overall): S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
Round 3 (No. 88 overall): DT Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
Round 4 (No. 129 overall): OT David Sharpe, Florida
Round 5 (No. 168 overall): LB Marquel Lee, Wake Forest
Round 7 (No. 221 overall): S Shalom Luani, Washington State
Round 7 (No. 231 overall): OT Jylan Ware, Alabama State
Round 7 (No. 242 overall): RB Elijah Hood, North Carolina
Round 7 (No. 244 overall): DT Treyvon Hester, Toledo

 

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have had great success mining gold from undrafted free agency. Jalen Richard and Darius Latham were kings of last year’s crop, which was six strong by season’s end. with Seth Roberts and Denico Autry other examples of undrafted free agents done good in recent years.

Can Raiders scouts find more helpful pieces from those left out of the NFL draft? Time will tell on that one, but finding the right undrafted players is something the team takes seriously. Scouts revel in undrafted players who make it in the league.

“It’s very rewarding,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “If we sign him as a free agent, we may have had him on the board as draftable, but getting guys post draft, that helps you down the road. To maintain a consistent winner, you have to hit on some of those guys. You have to. The way that the contracts are these days, you have to have some of those type players to help you win football games year in and year out.”

The Raiders will search for those players into Saturday evening to fill the 90-man roster. McKenzie secured some of his top targets with four seventh-round picks, though several more have signed with the club. Here’s a list of those who have signed with the team thus far:

-- OL Jordan Simmons, USC: The hulking offensive lineman signed with the Raiders, he announced on social media. Simmons stands 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, and will turn pro after being denied a sixth year of college eligibility. The talented guard had an injury-riddled career.

-- WR Isaac Whitney, USC: Whitney is yet another undrafted Trojan to join the Raiders roster. He announced the signing on social media. He didn’t have many college stats, but is fast with the size the Raiders prefer in outside receivers.

-- WR Keon Hatcher, Arkansas: Hatcher will reportedly join the offseason receiver group in hopes of taking a roster spot. He had 44 catches for 743 yards and eight touchdowns in his final college season. (Houston Chronicle)

-- WR Ishmael Zamora, Baylor: The Bears official website reported that Zamora will sign with the Silver and Black. He had63 catches for 809 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016. He was suspended three games for abusing a dog in an incident that was caught on video. 

-- S Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma: The Raiders need safety depth, so it was smart of Thomas to sign in Oakland. He was a three-year starter and a team captain. (Houston Chronicle)

-- S Anthony Cioffi, Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights’ official Twitter account reported a four-year starter in college will give the pros a try in Oakland.

-- DT Jordan Wade, Oklahoma: The 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle will join the Raiders. (SoonerScoop.com)

-- TE Pharaoh Brown, Oregon: The Ducks didn’t have a single player drafted, but Brown will join the Silver and Black. The tight end announced a signing on Twitter. He had 33 catches for 426 yards and five touchdown.

Check back for further updates...