Oakland Raiders’ Way-Too-Early 53-Man Roster and Depth Chart Predictions

The Oakland Raiders welcome seven rookies while the franchise pushes for league-wide respect as a playoff contender in the upcoming NFL season.

The Raiders front office didn’t waste any time strengthening weak positions during free agency. General manager Reggie McKenzie and his draft-day decision-makers continued to fill needy positions through the first two rounds of the draft. The No. 14 and No. 44 overall picks, safety Karl Joseph and defensive lineman Jihad Ward, will have an immediate opportunity to earn snaps with the starting lineup.

After the top two draft selections, the best-player-available approach took over in Rounds 3 and 4. Michigan State Spartans prospect Shilique Calhoun dropped to No. 75 and his college teammate Connor Cook remained available at No. 100.

In Rounds 5-7, the Raiders added depth to shallow roster spots. Texas Tech Red Raiders running back DeAndre Washington will complement Latavius Murray in the backfield. Linebacker Cory James will likely contribute to special teams. Offensive lineman Vadal Alexander showed versatility at LSU, but his skill set translates to guard in the pros.

After the draft, McKenzie responded to questions from local reporters about draft picks and prospective roles for the upcoming season, per the team’s official website. Here are five quick takeaways from the conference: 

McKenzie acknowledged a single-man backfield doesn’t amount to enough as a total rushing offense. He feels Washington will become an immediate contributor offensively and excel in pass-protection assignments.  The Raiders general manager referenced his tenure with the Green Bay Packers and their emphasis on depth at the quarterback position. He felt Cook was the best player available and too talented to neglect in the fourth round.  McKenzie categorized Ward as a raw talent who’s not comparable to Mario Edwards Jr. due to his inexperience at th...

About the Author