The Oakland Raiders will wrap up the 2016 Offseason Workout Program this week with a three-day Mandatory Minicamp, Tuesday – Thursday, at their Alameda, Calif., facility.
Mandatory Minicamp marks the final time the team will be on the field together before breaking for the summer, so here are five things to watch for over the course of the next few days.
Who Takes The Field?
The Silver and Black know that rookie safety Karl Joseph won't be participating in this week's Mandatory Minicamp as he recovers from a knee injury, but it'll be interesting to see which players take the field Tuesday.
Missing time at this point in the offseason – while not ideal – shouldn't be cause for concern, but getting reps with your teammates and receiving on-field coaching from Head Coach Jack Del Rio and his staff are particularly valuable for all the players on the roster.
The team had quality attendance over the past three weeks throughout their Organized Team Activities [OTAs], so hopefully that trend will continue through Mandatory Minicamp.
The Linebacking Corps
Curtis Lofton's offseason departure signifies one thing – the youth movement is in full effect when it comes to the Raiders' linebackers.
Ben Heeney was solid in the 15 games he appeared in as a rookie, especially down the stretch, and will look to have an even more prominent role in 2016. Malcolm Smith will also look to build on a quality 2015 season that served as his first season as a starter.
The Silver and Black also selected a pair of linebackers – Shilique Calhoun and Cory James – in this year's draft, and the duo figures to be featured prominently in the defense's future.
While it remains to be seen what kind of defense the team will play – a 4-3, 3-4, or some type of hybrid of the two – Del Rio has consistently said that the defense will be multiple, and having several quality linebackers will be key to doing that.
Linebackers coach Sal Sunseri has the makings of a good group, so be sure to keep an eye on which players get the most run over the next three days.
Running Back DeAndré Washington
Latavius Murray enjoyed a breakout season in 2015, but it was no secret that a second-option behind him never really materialized.
Enter DeAndré Washington, who the team selected in the fourth round (No. 143 overall) of this year's draft and is hoping can serve as another quality option to pair with Murray.
While we won't get a chance to see Washington put the pads on during Mandatory Minicamp, he'll definitely be an intriguing player to keep tabs on.
The Re-Worked Offensive Line
One of the Raiders' strengths in 2015 was undoubtedly the offensive line, and with the addition of guard Kelechi Osemele, the team is hoping that the group will be even better in 2016.
However, Osemele's addition won't be the only change along the front, as guard Gabe Jackson has been working primarily on the right side of the line throughout OTAs. Jackson played mostly on the left side his first two seasons in the NFL, but with Osemele now in the mix, he's moved to the other side of center Rodney Hudson.
The other thing to take note of during Mandatory Minicamp in regards to the offensive line – which player or players will be working at right tackle?
Menelik Watson and Austin Howard figure to battle it out to decide who will start on the right side, and on an offense where many of the starting positions are already solidified, it will be an entertaining battle to watch.
Will AC/DC Keep Their Momentum Going?
The Raiders have something special brewing with quarterback Derek Carr and Amari Cooper.
In just their first season together, the pair showed that they have the ability to be one of the top quarterback-wide receiver combinations in the league, and it seems as though they haven't built up any rust over the course of the offseason.
Carr and Cooper have looked like their usual selves throughout OTAs, and hopefully they'll use Mandatory Minicamp as a nice tune up before the team breaks for summer.
*All three practices are open to the media, and following each session, a variety of players and coaches will hold press conferences.