QUARTERBACKS:The Raiders traded with the Washington Redskins for veteran Jason Campbell on April 26. The 25th overall selection of the 2005 NFL Draft, Campbell started 52 games for the Redskins including all 32 contests over the past two seasons. Campbell posted career highs in completions (327), completion percentage (64.5), passing yards (3,618), touchdowns (20) and QB rating (86.4) with Washington last season. Campbell passed for 300 yards or more twice in 2009 including a career-high 367 yards and three touchdowns against New Orleans on December 6. Bruce Gradkowski is in his second season with the Silver and Black after seeing action in seven games with four starts in 2009. The mobile signal-caller led the Raiders to victories over Cincinnati and Pittsburgh last season, passing for 308 yards and three fourth-quarter touchdowns in the road win over the Steelers. Joining Gradkowski among the Raiders quarterbacks is Charlie Frye, who started the final three games of the 2009 season for the Silver and Black. Frye completed 26 passes for 333 yards at Cleveland on December 27, establishing single-game highs for Raider quarterbacks last year. Entering his sixth NFL season, Frye has started 23 games with three teams during his career. Also competing for a roster spot is former first round pick Kyle Boller, who was signed by the Raiders in April. The Cal product was the 19th overall selection by Baltimore in the 2003 NFL Draft and spent six seasons with the Ravens before playing for St. Louis in 2009. Boller's career totals include 46 starts, 844 completions, 8,745 passing yards and 48 touchdowns. The Silver and Black recently signed Colt Brennan, adding depth to the quarterback position.
RUNNING BACKS: Michael BushandDarren McFaddenheadline the Raider running game in 2010. Bush led the team in rushing last season, totaling 589 yards on 123 carries (4.8 avg.) and three touchdowns. Bush, who enters his third season after spending his rookie year on the PUP list, posted two 100-yard rushing games last season and has totaled 1,010 yards in two years with the Silver and Black. McFadden, the fourth overall selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, saw action in 12 games with seven starts last year and rushed for 357 yards on 104 carries (3.9 avg.) with one touchdown. McFadden also ranked fourth on the team with 21 receptions for 245 yards including a career-long 45-yard catch and run against Washington on December 13. Joining the Raiders group of running backs is nine-year veteran and former Pro Bowl selection Michael Bennett, who was signed as a free agent in May. Bennett has played with four teams during his NFL career and has totaled 3,692 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 100 league games. Bennett earned a Pro Bowl berth as a member of the Minnesota Vikings in 2002, when he rushed for 1,296 yards and five touchdowns. Also competing for carries will be former Redskin Rock Cartwright, who was signed by the Raiders in April. Cartwright spent eight seasons in Washington and made two starts at running back in 2009, rushed for 228 yards on 64 carries (3.6 avg.), and was a valuabvle member of the Washington special teams.
FULLBACKS: Luke Lawtonplayed in 29 games with 10 starts over the last two seasons. Lawton had seven receptions for 31 yards in 2009. Marcel Reece, who has spent most of the last two years on the Raiders practice squad, saw his first NFL action last season. A wide receiver in college at Washington, Reece played in two games in 2009 and had two receptions for 20 yards. Chane Moline and Manase Tonga, a pair of rookie free agents, will also battle for roster spots at fullback. Moline rushed for 665 yards and 11 touchdowns during his collegiate career at UCLA, while Tonga rushed for 696 yards and 16 touchdowns in four seasons at BYU. Rookie free agent Alex Danielswas recently converted to fullback after spending the minicamps and early training camp as a defensive lineman. Daniels played running back at the University of Minnesota before transferring to the University of Cincinnati, where played on the defensive line.
WIDE RECEIVERS: The Silver and Black's wide receiver corps includes second-year receivers Darrius Heyward-Beyand Louis Murphy who combined to become the first rookie duo to start in the NFL since 2000 and just the third since the 1977 season. Murphy was Oakland's top pass-catcher among wide receivers last season, as the Florida product had 34 receptions for 521 yards and four touchdowns. Murphy saw action in all 16 games as a rookie, making nine starts, and ranked 10th among NFL rookie wide receivers with an average of 15.3 yards per reception. Heyward-Bey, the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, started the first 11 games of the season before having his rookie year cut short due to injury. The former Maryland standout totaled nine receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown last year. Third-year receiver Chaz Schilens returned to the starting lineup after missing the first eight games of the 2009 season due to injury and totaled 29 receptions for 365 yards and two touchdowns. Johnnie Lee Higgins is the Silver and Black's most experienced receiver, having seen action in 47 career games with 10 starts including five last season. A big play threat as both a receiver and punt returner, Higgins hauled in 19 passes for 263 yards in 2009. Todd Watkins saw the first extensive action of his career in 2009, playing in 13 games and totaling eight receptions for 90 yards (11.3 avg.). Also returning to the receivers unit are Paul Hubbard and Shaun Bodiford, each of whom spent time on the Raiders practice squad last year, and Nick Miller, who earned a roster spot out of training camp in 2009 but did not play due to injury. Joining the group this season is Jacoby Ford, drafted by the Raiders in 2010 following a standout career at Clemson, and return specialist Yamon Figurs, who enters his fourth NFL campaign.
TIGHT ENDS: Zach Miller continued to establish himself as one of the NFL's top tight ends in 2009, becoming the first Raider tight end since Todd Christensen (1982-86) to lead the team in receiving in back-to-back seasons. Miller was tabbed as a Pro Bowl alternate after establishing career highs in receptions (66), receiving yards (805) and touchdowns (3) and was voted co-recipient of the Commitment to Excellence Award by teammates. Veteran special teams standout Tony Stewart enters his 10th NFL season and fourth with the Raiders. Stewart had 10 receptions for 78 yards last year. Second-year player Brandon Myers contributed as a rookie, playing in 11 games with two starts and totaling four receptions for 19 yards in 2009. Joining the tight end group is offseason acquisition John Owens, who has played for five teams in nine seasons and has totaled 22 receptions for 178 yards and one touchdown.
OFFENSIVE LINE:The Silver and Black's offensive line is one of the team's most experienced units, with eight of the 11 offensive linemen on the roster having started games in the NFL. Center Samson Satele returns after seeing action in 15 games and starting the final 12 contests of the 2009 season for the Raiders. The fourth-year player has played in 47 career games, making 44 starts. Standout left guard Robert Gallery also rejoins the unit after missing much of last season due to injury. Gallery, who had started 73 of 74 games in which he was active over his first five professional seasons, was limited to just six starts in 2009 but returns in full health to anchor the line. Cooper Carlislehas been a stalwart at right guard since joining the Raiders prior to the 2007 season. The 10-year NFL veteran has started 47 of 48 games since joining the Silver and Black and has played in 142 career games with 85 starts. Mario Henderson emerged as the starting left tackle late in the 2008 season and started all 16 games for the Raiders in 2009. Henderson enters his fourth professional season and has played in 28 career games with 21 starts since joining the Raiders as a third round pick in 2007. Versatile fourth-year player Chris Morris earned starting assignments at both center and guard last year, starting four games at center and six games at guard. Khalif Barnes, Erik Pears and Langston Walker are all players with NFL starting experience. Barnes was a four-year starter at left tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars before playing in six games with two starts at right tackle for the Raiders last season. Pears also joined the Raiders prior to the 2009 campaign and saw action in 12 games including two starts each at left guard and right tackle. Walker, originally a Raiders second round pick in 2002, re-joined the Silver and Black after a stint in Buffalo and played in seven games with two starts at left guard in 2009. The Raiders added depth on the offensive line in the 2010 NFL Draft, selecting Jared Veldheer from Hillsdale in the third round and Bruce Campbell from Maryland in the fourth round. Also battling for time on the line will be guard Brandon Rodd, who spent time on the Raiders practice squad last season, and free agent addition Daniel Loper, who is a five-year NFL veteran. Rookie free agents Alex Parsons from USC and Allen Smith from Stanford will also battle for roster spots.
DEFENSIVE LINE: The Raiders enter the season with a solid mix of youth and experience on the defensive line. Richard Seymour, who was acquired prior to the 2009 campaign in a trade with the New England Patriots, made an immediate impact last year by recording four sacks. The four-time Pro Bowl selection started all 16 games at defensive end, but has the ability to move over and excel at defensive tackle as well. Joining Seymour on the line is defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, who started all 16 games for the second straight season in 2009. Kelly, who was signed by the Raiders as an undrafted free agent in 2004, enters the new season with 18.5 career sacks for losses totaling 140 yards. New addition John Henderson will also play in the middle after signing with the Raiders in the offseason. Henderson was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in eight seasons with Jacksonville. Defensive end Lamarr Houston was selected by the Raiders in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft after a standout collegiate career at Texas and will compete immediately for playing time on the line. Second-year players Desmond Bryant and Matt Shaughnessy will also fight for starting assignments after stellar rookie years. Bryant played in all 16 games at defensive tackle last year and posted 55 tackles after joining the team as an undrafted rookie free agent, while Shaughnessy emerged as a reliable pass rusher with four sacks in 16 games at defensive end after being drafted in the third round by the Silver and Black. Also returning is veteran defensive end Jay Richardson, who contributed three sacks in 2009 and played in all 16 games for the third straight season, and eighth-year defensive tackle William Joseph, who has played in 14 games over the last two years with the Raiders. Chris Cooper, who originally entered the NFL as the Raiders' sixth round draft pick in 2001, re-joined the team in the offseason and has played both defensive end and defensive tackle. Defensive end Greyson Gunheim will also compete for playing time after spending most of 2009 on the Raiders practice squad. Defensive tackle Kellen Heard will battle for roster spot as an undrafted rookie free agent.
LINEBACKERS: The Raiders corps of linebackers will have a new look as four players were added through the draft and trades during the offseason. The Silver and Black used the eighth overall pick in the draft to select Alabama middle linebacker Rolando McClain, who was a member of the Crimson Tide's national championship team and earned the Butkus Award last season.
Third-year player Trevor Scott excelled after moving to weak side linebacker from defensive end for the final six games of last season. Scott tied for the team's sack lead with seven in 2009, with five of those coming after his switch to linebacker. Thomas Howard is the Raiders' most experienced linebacker, having played in 64 games with 62 starts over the past four seasons at both the weak and strong side linebacker spots. The playmaking Howard enters the season with four career sacks and seven career interceptions. Kamerion Wimbley joined the Raiders via offseason trade with the Cleveland Browns and looks to contribute immediately on the Raiders defense. A first round pick by the Browns in 2006, Wimbley racked up 26.5 career sacks in four seasons in Cleveland including 11 as a rookie and 6.5 sacks last season. Ricky Brown, who has started 11 games at strong side linebacker for the Raiders over the last two seasons, looks to return to health after missing much of last year due to injury. Quentin Groves, an offseason acquisition from Jacksonville, will also compete for a place in the lineup after two seasons with the Jaguars. Veteran Sam Williams is a valuable contributor on special teams and a proven reserve, while second-year players David Nixonand Slade Norris both return after gaining experience on special teams as rookies last year. Travis Goethel, a sixth round pick from Arizona State, will also compete for playing time in training camp.
CORNERBACKS: The Raiders defense includes one of the NFL's elite cornerbacks in eight-year pro Nnamdi Asomugha, who earned his second straight berth as a Pro Bowl starter last season. Asomugha joined the Raiders as a first round pick in 2003 and enters the season with 11 career interceptions. The Cal product started all 16 games for the Silver and Black last year and was named second team All-Pro by the Associated Press. Chris Johnson enters his fourth year with the Raiders after tying for the team lead with three interceptions last season and recording 18 passes defensed. Since earning the starting job midway through the 2008 season, Johnson has started 23 games and totaled six interceptions for the Raiders. Stanford Routt returns for his sixth season in Oakland's defensive backfield after seeing playing time mostly in nickel situations last year. Routt has played in 78 career games with 23 starts and has recorded four interceptions. The Raiders added two cornerbacks in the draft, selecting Walter McFadden from Auburn in the fourth round and Jeremy Ware from Michigan State in the seventh round. McFadden, whose brother Bryant is a five-year NFL veteran, had nine career interceptions in college and Ware was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection. Veteran Joey Thomas, who*has played in 31 NFL games, and free agent signingJoe Porter* add depth and competition at the cornerback position.
SAFETIES: The Raiders return both safeties on a unit that ranked ninth in the NFL in pass defense. Michael Huff took over the starting job at free safety in 2009 and established career highs with three interceptions and 14 passes defensed. The former first round pick has played in 64 games with 51 starts over four seasons with the Silver and Black. Tyvon Branch started all 16 games at strong safety in just his second NFL season and led all NFL defensive backs with 124 total tackles (90 solo). Branch, who ranked 10th in the league in tackles, added eight passes defensed, one sack and two forced fumbles. Hiram Eugene is a key contributor at free safety and on special teams for the Raiders. Eugene has started 14 games over the last two seasons and recorded his first career interception in 2009. Hard-hitting strong safety Mike Mitchell will push for increased playing time after excelling in a reserve role as a rookie. Mitchell saw action in all 16 games and posted 1.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries. Second-year player Jerome Boyd saw his first NFL action in the season finale last year, while seventh round draft pick Stevie Brown from Michigan will also compete for playing time.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The Raiders have exceptional kicking specialists in punter Shane Lechlerand kicker Sebastian Janikowski. Lechler was named to his fifth Pro Bowl after leading the NFL with a 51.1 punting average, which fell just short of the NFL's all-time single-season record. Lechler, who already holds the NFL record with a 47.3-yard career punting average, was the recipient of the PFW/PFWA Golden Toe Award in 2009. Janikowski was tabbed for All-Pro honors by Sports Illustrated after scoring 95 points and making 26-of-29 field goal attempts. Janikowski set a Raiders record and kicked the third-longest field goal in NFL history with a 61-yarder at Cleveland last season and reached 1,000 career points with a field goal in the season finale. Free agent acquisition Swayze Waters can handle both punting and kicking duties for the Raiders. Long snapper Jon Condo is also among the NFL's elite, as the fifth-year specialist was added to the AFC Pro Bowl roster as a "need player" following the 2009 season. A crowded group will compete for kick and punt return duties in training camp. Johnnie Lee Higgins has returned punts for the last three seasons, returning three punts for touchdowns during the 2008 campaign. Jonathan Holland saw kick return duty for the Silver and Black last year, returning 28 kicks for 550 yards, while Rock Cartwright served as Washington's primary kick returner for the past four seasons, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark three times. Yamon Figurs has returned both kicks and punts for several teams over the past three years and returned both a kick and punt for touchdowns as a member of the Baltimore Ravens in 2007. Jacoby Ford posted outstanding kick return numbers at Clemson, returning 47 kicks for 1,124 yards and two touchdowns as a senior. Nick Miller handled return duties for the Raiders during the 2009 preseason, but did not play during the regular season due to injury, and Shaun Bodiford has returned both kicks and punts in the NFL.