Khalil Mack is listed as a defensive end on the Raiders first depth chart of 2015.
The Oakland Raiders released their first unofficial depth chart of the 2015 campaign this morning in advance of the preseason opener against the St. Louis Rams at O.co Coliseum in Oakland Friday night. Even though we shouldn't read too much into a Preseason Week 1 depth chart, there are some interesting things of note.
Second-year man Khalil Mack is listed as a starting defensive end opposite Justin Tuck. Head Coach Jack Del Rio and defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., are both on record as saying Mack's four sacks as a rookie will not cut it this year. Mack's spot has been kept under wraps throughout the offseason. We shall see how much time he spends with his hand in the dirt as time goes on.
J'Marcus Webb will begin the preseason as the Raiders starting right guard. He has spent his entire career as a tackle.
With Clive Walford still on the shelf, Lee Smith gets the nod as the starting tight end. Mychal Rivera, who has been impressive to start camp, is listed No. 2. So far in camp, formations have dictated which tight ends are on the field, no so much depth chart spot.
Trent Richardson will back up Latavius Murray at running back to start the preseason. Richardson missed the beginning of camp on the Non-Football Illness list.
Rod Streater is still on the Non-Football Illness list and Kenbrell Thompkins and Andre Holmes have been taking advantage of the extra reps.
As expected, TJ Carrie and DJ Hayden open as the starting cornerbacks. Keith McGill is listed as second-string but he should get a run at one of the starting spots.
Nate Allen is listed as the starting free safety and Charles Woodson as the starting strong safety. How the defensive coaching staff deploys Woodson should be interesting. The ball-hawking, sure-tackling future Hall of Famer should get plenty of opportunities to make plays. Woodson has talked about how interchangeable they are.
Meat and Potatoes in the middle – Justin Ellis and Dan Williams are very reminiscent of the defensive tackles Head Coach Jack Del Rio employed in Jacksonville, John Henderson and Marcus Stroud. Ellis and Williams are big and athletic.
Menelik Watson is listed as the starting right tackle but he has been limited of late with an injury. Austin Howard should get plenty of playing time at that spot to start the preseason.
Tony Bergstrom is listed as the back-up center. He was drafted as a guard and many believe this is a make-or-break opportunity for him.
Wide receiver/return specialist Trindon Holliday will get first crack at both the punt return and kick return jobs. He started camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. This is one of those position battles that can't be evaluated thoroughly until the games begin.