Raiders roster reset: How depth chart looks after NFL draft, free agency

Scott Bair
NBC Sports BayArea

The Raiders will look much different than they did a year ago. That's typical of Jon Gruden squads, especially during a long-term roster rebuild like one currently under construction. The team looks virtually nothing like it did in his first year back with the Raiders, when he was working with general manager Reggie McKenzie.

The team's head coach and second-year GM Mike Mayock have turned the roster over significantly since then, especially after an active spring. The Raiders have signed 12 new players in free agency and selected seven more in last week's 2020 NFL Draft, all before the fourth round. Barring injury, those selections are making the squad. All but a few free agents are roster locks. Maybe an undrafted player or two makes the team.

Don't take new for bad. This roster is much better, on paper anyway. It's undoubtedly faster and more dynamic on both sides of the ball and ready to make a splash in its first year in Las Vegas.

With most major offseason moves now official, let's take a look at the 2020 squad as it stands in our Raiders roster reset:

Offense

Quarterback: Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, Nathan Peterman, DeShone Kizer

This is the Raiders' deepest quarterback room in years, with Carr as the unquestioned starter and Mariota as the NFL's highest-paid backup with a wealth of starter's experience. The former Tennessee Titan will push Carr in the preseason but will be climbing uphill without a full offseason program to learn and apply the offense. He offers great injury protection and could step in if needed. Peterman's a project with plenty of talent, and Kizer probably will be elsewhere at some point before the season.

Running back: Josh Jacobs, Lynn Bowden Jr., Jalen Richard
Third-down RB: Jalen Richard
"Joker": Lynn Bowden Jr.

Jacobs is a legit feature back capable of being one of the NFL's best. It was ridiculous he wasn't Offensive Rookie of the Year after a season where he forced more broken tackles than anyone. He'll run around you or through you. He's effective between the tackles and in open space. He's willing to play through pain, as he did for weeks with a fractured shoulder.

Richard is an impactful third-down back, especially in up-tempo situations. The Raiders were thought to seek a physical change of pace back, but Bowden's versatility provides one of a different type. They could still add a bigger runner in free agency.

Also under contract: Rod Smith, William Stanback

Fullback: Alec Ingold

The Wisconsin alum beat out established veteran Keith Smith last year and capitalized on the opportunity. He and Jacobs have great chemistry and it shows. Ingold can be an effective short-yardage runner if required and is a better receiver than you think.

Receiver

Z receiver: Henry Ruggs III, Nelson Agholor, Zay Jones
X receiver: Tyrell Williams, Bryan Edwards, Marcel Ateman
Slot: Hunter Renfrow, Henry Ruggs, Nelson Agholor

The receiving corps was terrible last season but has undergone some significant upgrades. That is, however, if Ruggs and Edwards pan out as expected. Ruggs was the NFL draft's fastest man but does a lot more than run go routes. He does most everything well, is super competitive and has been consistently healthy. Williams should find his previous form after foot injuries hurt his first year as a Raider. Edwards could find a role if his foot gets right after breaking it this offseason. Renfrow should build on a solid second half of last season. Agholor is the odds-on favorite for the fifth spot, though he'll be pushed.

Also under contract: Rico Gafford, Anthony Ratliff-Williams, George Mariner (UDFA)
Given EFRA tender: Keelan Doss
Note: The Raiders prefer their receivers learn every position and will move around. Their positions are not locked. Several, including Ruggs will see time in the slot.

Tight end: Darren Waller, Jason Witten, Foster Moreau, Derek Carrier

This position group was stacked even before Witten signed up in March. While he isn't what he was, the all-time great still can contribute. The Raiders will use tons of multiple tight end sets given the talent here. Keeping a fourth tight end makes sense with how much Carrier does on special teams and the injury protection he provides. The Raiders are confident Moreau will return for camp after an ACL injury last season, but that's ultimately uncertain.

Also under contract: Nick O'Leary, Paul Butler, Nick Bowers (UDFA)

[RELATED: 2020 NFL Draft: Raiders surrounding Derek Carr with offensive weapons]

Offensive line

Left tackle: Kolton Miller, Trent Brown
Left guard: Richie Incognito, John Simpson, Eric Kush
Center: Rodney Hudson, Andre James, Jordan Devey
Right guard: Gabe Jackson, Denzelle Good, Jordan Devey
Right tackle: Trent Brown, David Sharpe, Brandon Parker



The starting five is as tough as they come, capable of blocking well for the run and keeping Carr upright. Hudson's elite. Brown's top tier when healthy and Miller's developing into a steady presence. Both guards bring nastiness to the front. Interior depth is stout and can survive if Jackson's dealt or cut despite Mike Mayock saying he's the starting right guard. Tackle depth is a concern, without much reliability behind the starters. Sharpe has shown improvement on the right, but Brown likely would move left if Miller wasn't the staple he has been the last two years.

Others under contract: Lester Cotton, Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson, Kamaal Seymour (UDFA)

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

Defense

Defensive end (base): Clelin Ferrell, Carl Nassib
Nose tackle (base): Johnathan Hankins, P.J. Hall
Defensive tackle (base): Maliek Collins, Maurice Hurst, Daniel Ross
Defensive end (base): Maxx Crosby, Carl Nassib, Arden Key


Edge rusher (nickel): Carl Nassib/Clelin Ferrell
Interior rusher (nickel): Maliek Collins, Daniel Ross, Clelin Ferrell
Interior rusher (nickel): Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall
Edge rusher (nickel): Maxx Crosby, Arden Key


The Raiders didn't add a defensive tackle in the NFL draft. That constitutes a mild surprise but adding Collins in free agency was a significant upgrade. His 48 quarterback pressures last year would've led the Raiders, and he was rushing from the inside. Hankins and Collins could be stout in the base package, with Hurst joining Collins leading the nickel rotation. The pressure's on Hall to earn a spot and show improvement, though Ross will push him.

Crosby proved he's a three-down presence, and Nassib got paid handsomely in free agency and will compete for a significant role in sub-packages especially. Ferrell promised to return a vastly improved player and is putting in the work to do exactly that. Key's a major question mark with plenty of talent and no production to speak of.

Others under contract: Ade Aruna, Kendall Donnerson, Kendall Vickers, Jeremiah Valoaga, Mike Panasiuk (UDFA)

Weakside linebacker: Cory Littleton, Nicholas Morrow, Tanner Muse
Middle linebacker: Nick Kwiatkoski, Marquel Lee, Nicholas Morrow
Strongside linebacker: Marquel Lee, Kyle Wilber

Kwiatkoski and Littleton should be true three-down linebackers who have dramatically upgraded the position group. Littleton's an ideal modern linebacker who can cover and tackle well. Kwiatkoski will wear the green dot and run the show inside. Lee could be a solid run defender in the base defense, though strongside linebackers come off in sub-packages. Morrow can back up multiple positions. Muse will learn a new post after playing safety at Clemson.

Also under contract: Javin White (UDFA), Te'von Coney, Ukeme Eligwe, Derrick Moncrief, Quentin Poling, Nick Usher

Outside cornerback: Damon Arnette, Isaiah Johnson, Nevin Lawson
Outside cornerback: Trayvon Mullen, Keisean Nixon, Amik Robertson
Slot cornerback: Lamarcus Joyner, Amik Robertson

Mullen proved last year that he can play at the NFL level. The Raiders are hoping Arnette can do the same and start right away after they couldn't land a cornerback in free agency. He's a solid scheme fit and had high-level production at Ohio State last year. Johnson won't let Arnette have the gig without a fight. Lawson's a decent veteran backup plan. Joyner will be back on a big contract, and is the only veteran scheduled to play a lot. Robertson's an intriguing prospect who has good ball skills and could push to make an impact right away. He isn't tall but also is capable of playing outside.

Others under contract: Nick Nelson, Dylan Mabin. D.J. Killings, Ken Crawley, Jordan Brown, Madre Harper (UDFA)

Free safety: Damarious Randall, Jeff Heath, Erik Harris
Strong safety: Johnathan Abram, Dallin Leavitt

The Raiders are fortunate to have landed Randall late in free agency and for an affordable sum. Abram is back healthy and is considered the team's third first-round pick after he missed all but one game last year. Both guys should be three-down players, though Heath and Harris offer stout backup options and special teams play.

Special teams

Kicker: Daniel Carlson
Punter: A.J. Cole
Long snapper: Trent Sieg
Kick returner: Henry Ruggs/Jalen Richard
Punter returner: Lynn Bowden/Jalen Richard



Cole earned the punter's job last year and secured it for 2020. Undrafted free agent Dominik Eberle will push Carlson, but the incumbent should be considered the real frontrunner. Bowden and Ruggs are dynamic skill players but taking an injury risk returning kicks seems like a real gamble, especially with Ruggs.

Others under contract: K Dominik Elerbe (UDFA), LS Liam McCullough (UDFA)

Raiders roster reset: How depth chart looks after NFL draft, free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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