How Raiders starting lineup is shaping up following NFL Draft

How Raiders starting lineup is shaping up following NFL Draft

With the conclusion of thee NFL Draft, the heavy lifting is complete.

You can write the starting lineup for the 2021 Raiders in pencil, eraser in hand for any roster tinkering with undrafted free agents, street free agents or unexpected injuries.

They rebuilt their defense in terms of both scheme and personnel, which is something that needed to be done. They rebuilt their offensive line, and time will tell whether they got younger and more athletic or simply less experienced and less effective.

Here’s how it shakes out:

OFFENSE

Quarterback: Derek Carr

Unless you’re buying the Aaron Rodgers possibility (which means you probably also thought Russell Wilson and Tom Brady were heading to Las Vegas within the last year), this remains Carr’s team with Marcus Mariota as the backup.

.Running back: Josh Jacobs

Jacobs will get plenty of work, but the addition of Kenyan Drake means they can back off on the ill-fated idea of making him a 50-plus catch receiver out of the backfield. Jalen Richard is still around for insurance as a receiving back. Coach Jon Gruden is a ground and pound guy, so Jacobs is in his element.

Fullback: Alec Ingold

Good for cut-blocks, special teams and a better receiver than you think. Ingold even took over for the late Willie Brown at the draft, urging everyone to remember their moms on Mothers Day.

Wide receiver: Henry Ruggs III

They didn’t draft him a year ago at No 12 overall for nothing. With something resembling an offseason, in theory becomes a week-to-week threat instead of flashing occasional brilliance. John Brown gets the Nelson Agholor role if Ruggs falters or is injured.

Wide receiver: Bryan Edwards

It’s easy to fall behind in Gruden’s offense with an early injury — especially in a COVID-19 year. Edwards has every chance to ascend in Year 2. Zay Jones, Willie Snead provide insurance.

Slot receiver: Hunter Renfrow

Yes, the Raider move their receivers around, and all are trained in the slot. But none play it like third-and-Renfrow.

Tight end: Darren Waller

There’s really no one like him in the NFL. Foster Moreau could start on a lot of teams and will get plenty of work with Jason Witten out of the picture.

Left tackle: Kolton Miller

The cornerstone of the offensive line with Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson out of the picture.

Left guard: Richie Incognito

There’s some wiggle room here with John Simpson if Incognito shows his age (38), but he’ll be given every chance to run with it for as long as he can.

Center: Andre James

Houston starter Nick Martin was signed in the offseason and Jimmy Morrissey arrved in the draft, but the Raiders tipped their hand when James got a contract extension while still under team control.

Right guard: Denzelle Good

Can play pretty much anywhere on the line except for center, he filled in admirably at left guard and was re-signed as a result. Simpson can back up at either guard spot.

Right tackle: Alex Leatherwood

Everyone hates the pick — or at least hates that the Raiders didn’t trade back and get him anyway. The Raiders think they got the best tackle in the draft. Yes, ahead of Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater. Seriously. We’ll soon find out.

The Raiders need more consistency and fewer penalties from safety Johnathan Abram (24). A.P. Photo

DEFENSE

Defensive end: Yannick Ngakoue

Sleek pass rusher may not always start but his paycheck demands he be at the top of the depth chart. The theory is draft pick Malcolm Koonce adds a second jet-fueled pass rusher.

Defensive tackle: Quinton Jefferson

Another shot at a three-technique after the failed Maliek Collins experiment. Solomon Thomas is also in the house and could get considerable time if he blossoms at the position.

Defensive tackle: Johnathan Hankins

Closest thing the Raiders have to a plug-the-middle run-stuffer, he’ll be on the sidelines on passing downs with a variety of options moving inside

Defensive end: Clelin Ferrell

Don’t get too worked up. Maxx Crosby is not getting disrespected here. He’ll play less and probably be the better for it, and Ferrell is an inside option on passing downs.

Weak side linebacker: Cory Littleton

Unimpressive first year, but seems accountable and the Raiders restructured his contract in a way that indcates he’ll play plenty. Meanwhile, a pair if inexperienced college safeties (Divine Deablo, Tanner Muse) learn the ropes and play on special teams.

Middle linebacker: Nick Kwiatkoski

Closest thing on the roster to a classic 4-3 middle linebacker. Contract, like Littleton’s was restructured. Play time could take a hit on passing downs.

Strong side linebacker: Nicholas Morrow

They didn’t guarantee Morrow $4.5 million for nothing. Not a classic strong side backer but may have a role with Gus Bradley in nickel and dime.

Cornerback: Trayvon Mullen

In theory, with a legitimate pass rush, Mullen will evolve into a cover corner the likes of which the Raiders haven’t seen since Nnamdi Asomugha. In theory.

Cornerback: Damon Arnette

Hard to imagine a tougher rookie year . . . broken thumb, COVID-19, concussions. If Arnette is healthy, we’ll find out if the No. 19 pick in the 2020 draft was a reach or not.

Nickel back: Amik Robertson

Not a good sign Robertson got so little time behind Lamarcus Joyner in such a poor secondary. But with Nevin Lawson facing a suspension to open the season, it’s his chance to run with the job. Nate Hobbs could figure in here.

Free safety: Trevon Moherig

G.M. Mayock tried to float the idea Moehrig was competing with Jeff Heath. He’s not. Or else it’s a problem for the center fielder the Raiders wanted for Gus Bradley.

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By Ankita Dixit

Hi, my name is Ankita Dixit. I started writing from young age and most of my writing skills and knowledge are self taught. Currently, I am working as a professional writer at Paisa.co. I have write on various topics including travel, motivation, finance, technology, credit cards, insurance and entrepreneurship etc.