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Raiders Mailbag: UDFAs, rookie RBs and other questions answered ahead of Week 1

Bill Freyhof from Florida asks:

"Any thoughts about UDFA linebacker Luke Masterson?"

The biggest thing that has caught my eye is his his ability to cover, something that's imperative in defensive coordinator Patrick Graham's defensive scheme. His interception against the Patriots is a fine example of that. Masterson played several positions in his time at Wake Forest and in his senior season, helped guide the Demon Deacons to their best record since 2006. His 19 total tackles and pass deflection in the preseason were impressive enough to stamp his way on the 53-man roster.

"It starts with how studious [he is], in terms of preparing for each day," Graham said about Masterson Thursday. "He's here when I'm here for breakfast. He's here, he's working. You see him with his playbook, his iPad. The extra meeting time, the questions, and then going out there and performing. That's how you make the team – you perform.

"Couldn't be more proud of the fact that he did that. He knows that he has to earn it every day and that's how he goes about his workday and his work week. It's been pretty impressive for a young player."

Daniel Salazar asks:

"Who's in the starting offensive line?"

According to the unofficial depth chart at the moment, the starting offensive line will consist of Kolton Miller, John Simpson, Andre James, Lester Cotton Sr. and Jermaine Eluemunor.

We should remember though that Coach Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler have been working to find versatile pieces for the offensive line, so it could be always changing each game.

While there's several questions surrounding the unit, the chemistry in the room should be something to be optimistic about. The trio of Miller, Simpson and James started all 17 regular season games last season, including the playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Miller is considered the anchor of the line, with a 85 overall PFF grade in 2021 and played every single offensive snap of the season.

Another O-lineman to keep an eye on is Jermaine Eluemunor. The tackle hailing from London, England, is comfortable with McDaniels and Mick Lombardi's offensive scheme – having played two seasons in it as a New England Patriot. Eluemunor had PFF pass blocking grade above a 70 in those two seasons.

"Jermaine was a young player trying to figure himself out," Lombardi said of Eluemunor. "He put a lot of time and effort in New England and eventually became a starter there for us, and then came here and played a lot of games for the Raiders. Obviously is an integral part of what we're trying to do as a member of the offensive line here."

As for Lester Cotton Sr, this Sunday against the Chargers could be his first NFL start in his three-year career. The guard has elevated his game this offseason and made quite the impression on the new coaching staff. The moment shouldn't be too big for Cotton though, who played well against the Chargers in last season's do-or-die finale.

"Not playing in a few years since college and actually going out there and having the chance to get some playing time, it felt good," Cotton said about their previous matchup against the Chargers. "I was having fun, I felt like a kid again. I was out there getting it with my brothers. It felt good."

Ted Ashlock from California asks:

"I am a UCLA homer and have enjoyed following Brittain Brown's preseason. Would the Raiders ever consider getting some reps at the fullback position?"

That's a very good question, Ted. My short answer is kind of.

Brittain Brown is a running back, that won't necessarily change. I was just as enamored with his preseason, as the seventh-round pick showed out with nearly 190 total scrimmage yards and two rushing touchdowns. With that being said, Brown didn't make the 53-man just for his running abilities. He also showed during the preseason that he can be an asset in run blocking and pass protection as well.

So yes, Jakob Johnson will indeed be the only fullback on this roster, but I could also see McDaniels adding the responsibilities of a fullback to his other running backs, which could certainly include Brown.

Head inside Intermountain Healthcare Center to view the best photos from the Silver and Black's Wednesday practice.

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