5 position battles to watch in Raiders preseason matchup vs Rams

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Preseason continues tonight as the Raiders face the Rams in Los Angeles. From the sounds of it, the Raiders won’t be fielding their veteran starters for this one, just as was the case for the preseason opener last week. Those healthy players being held out have their jobs secured. Those taking the field are either battling for their spot on the depth chart or their spot on the team.

These are the top five position battles I’ll be watching tonight.

Trey Ragas vs BJ Emmons

These two undrafted rookie running back put on a show in the preseason opener in Las Vegas. Ragas led the team in rushing while Emmons broke off a few big runs. Both also scored touchdowns.

At this moment Ragas has the lead in the battle, but Emmons could get back into it with a big performance tonight. Both are vying to nab the third RB job with Jalen Richard out with an injury and no timetable for his return.

Zay Jones vs Willie Snead

Both of these guys are battling for what could be the final wide receiver spot on the roster. That is, if the team carries only five receivers. Snead is more established but Jones has been lighting it up of late, both in the first preseason game and in the scrimmages with the Rams this past week.

It’s certainly possible the team holds onto six receivers, but that’s not guaranteed. And that sixth receiver would be inactive most weeks. Look for Snead to try and remind the team that he can be a valuable weapon out of the slot.

Quinton Jefferson vs Darius Philon vs Solomon Thomas

These three 3-tech DTs were all added within hours of each other early in free agency. They all appeared to be in line to rotate at the 3-tech position, but with the addition of Gerald McCoy, there could be an odd man out in the group.

All three played in the preseason opener with Philon coming out with the best performance. With Johnathan Hankins as the lone pure NT on the team, it’s still possible Jefferson, Philon, and Thomas made the team, but they’re gonna have to earn it. No way any of them is taking a roster spot as granted.

Nate Hobbs vs Amik Robertson

The team seems to like Nevin Lawson as the starting slot cornerback, but Lawson won’t be available the first two weeks so either Hobbs or Robertson will get the start at the nickel to begin the season. The fifth round rookie Hobbs has jumped ahead of 2020 fourth round pick Robertson. We’ll see if that continues or if Robertson can get back into the competition.

Karl Joseph vs Tyree Gillespie

Joseph is the veteran safety while Gillespie is the rookie. Both missed significant time in camp to injury, and Joseph missed the preseason opener, so the door is still open for one of them to distinguish himself.

This is to be the next man up behind Johnathan Abram at the strong safety spot, but it could be more than that. It’s Abram’s job right now, but he will need to perform a lot better than he did last season in order to keep it. Joseph or Gillespie would also have to prove they are a better option. Joseph can also play free safety if needed.

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