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Raiders Mailbag: Which position competitions should you keep an eye on?

Steve Spoltore asks:

"Other than the QB competition, what other positions battles should we be looking at?"

With the immense amount the talent on the defensive side of the ball, I expect some competitive battles in every position group.

While there are a few bonafide starters on the defensive line, i.e. Maxx Crosby and Christian Wilkins, every other spot is seemingly up for grabs. While John Jenkins and Adam Butler are leading the way as veteran leaders as interior linemen, several young men behind them will be scratching and clawing for reps in training camp, which include 2023 draft picks Byron Young, Nesta Jade Silvera and even edge rusher Tyree Wilson who lined up on the inside for over 20 percent of his snaps between Week 14-18 of last season.

The linebacking corps will include active competition between Luke Masterson, Amari Burney and 2024 fifth-round pick Tommy Eichenberg to be rotational pieces. They could find themselves playing meaningful snaps within a 3-4 "base" defense when Patrick Graham decides to run it.

There's also intriguing competition to see who will be the starting outside cornerback opposite of Jack Jones. Throughout OTAs and minicamp, Brandon Facyson and Jakorian Bennett saw a majority of the reps, both making the most of their opportunities by producing pass deflections and interceptions. Don't discount fourth-rounder Decamerion Richardson either, as the 6-foot-2 cornerback was considered one of the most athletic players in this year's draft class.

Lonnie Wesley from Florida asks:

"What does the RB room look like as far as style is concerned? What does the room say their strength will be?"

If you look at who was added to the running back room, the trending trait seems to be good hands.

The Silver and Black added two talented pass catching backs, starting with Alexander Mattison. The former Minnesota Vikings starter has proven to be a player that can provide versatility out the backfield, totaling six career receiving touchdowns and an 80+ catching percentage his first four seasons in the league. The team also drafted FCS standout Dylan Laube in the sixth round, who compiled 1,163 receiving yards and nine touchdown grabs in his last two seasons at New Hampshire.

Mattison and Laube's skillsets complement Ameer Abdullah. The 10-year NFL veteran has over 1,200 receiving yards in his career along with eight career touchdown catches.

James Urmstead asks:

"How do you think Tyree Wilson will be used this year (inside, outside, subs)?"

All of the above.

As mentioned earlier, Wilson started seeing his snaps as an interior lineman ramped up toward the end of the last season. Graham used a "NASCAR" defensive front package on third-down passing situations to maximize speed off the line of scrimmage, which paid dividends in several key situations. With Wilkins in the mix, it wouldn't be surprising to see Graham continuing to put Wilson at nose tackle in certain situations. Additionally, the 2023 first-rounder has noticeably put on a good amount of muscle, even better for playing on the inside.

Wilson is expected to continue developing as an edge rusher who could see himself in a healthy rotation between Crosby and Malcolm Koonce on either side of the defensive line. Wilson's development will be something to keep an eye on in training camp, considering this has been his first full NFL offseason program.

The Las Vegas Raiders invited 10 local high school football teams for their 5th annual 11-ON event where players competed in a big man challenge and a 7-on-7 tournament.

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