Raiders Position Battles: Offensive Line

A look at the Raiders position by position - we continue with the offensive line.

The Oakland Raiders offensive line allowed just 28 sacks a year ago, but the running game wasn't effective until late in the year. The team shored up the line in free agency and in the Draft. New Offensive Line Coach Mike Tice says, "it's the biggest, most athletic group of guys I've worked with before."

Let's take a look…

Rodney Hudson | 6'2" | 300 | Florida State | 5th Season>

Originally selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, Hudson was one of the Raiders top free agent "gets" this offseason. He has played in 51 games with 35 starts and he replaces Stefen Wisniewski as the anchor of the offensive line.

Bottom Line: The only true center listed on the roster, the hope is that Hudson anchors the line for quarterback Derek Carr for many years to come.

Donald Penn | 6'4" | 340 | Utah State | 10th Season>

The Raiders added Penn a year ago and he cemented himself as one of the better left tackles in the NFL as the Raiders only allowed 28 sacks. He has played in 128 games with 124 starts and even caught a touchdown pass last season.

Bottom Line: Penn should start at left tackle for the Silver and Black in 2015.

Austin Howard | 6'7" | 330 | Northern Iowa | 6th Season>

Howard played right guard last season after signing with the Raiders as a free agent coming over from the New York Jets. He'll move back to his natural position, right tackle, this season. He has played in 52 games with 49 starts.

Bottom Line: Howard will have some competition for the starting right tackle spot from Menelik Watson, who was drafted to take that mantle, and perhaps Matt McCants, among others.

Gabe Jackson | 6'3" | 336 | Mississippi State | 2ndSeason

Jackson was one of the steals of the 2014 NFL Draft, going to Oakland in the 3rd round. He played in 13 games with 12 starts at left guard. Jackson is a big, powerful man, who is very athletic for his size.

Bottom Line: This road grader should start at left guard for many years to come.

Khalif Barnes | 6'6" | 320 | Washington | 11th Season>

The elder statesman of the Raiders offensive line, the versatile Khalif Barnes can play just about anywhere along the offensive line, and as an extra tight end in short-yardage and goal line situations.

Bottom Line: He'll compete for the right guard spot, but he better serves the team as a back-up, the "swing" tackle and extra tight end.

Menelik Watson | 6'5" | 315 | Florida State | 3rd Season>

Watson has flirted with becoming the full-time starter at right tackle but injuries seems to keep getting in his way. He is very athletic but has very little actual game experience. The Manchester, England-native has played in 17 games with 12 starts.

Bottom Line: Watson is going to have to put in some work to beat out Howard for the right tackle spot.

J'Marcus Webb | 6'7" | 333 | West Texas A&M | 5th Season>

The Raiders signed Webb in early April. Webb played with Chicago for three season and Minnesota for two. He has played in 55 games with 45 starts at both tackle spots.

Bottom Line: After what we saw during OTAs and minicamps, Webb will be in the mix for the starting right guard spot.

Jon Feliciano | 6'4" | 323 | Miami | 4th Round>

Many folks are looking at Feliciano as this year's Gabe Jackson – a mid-round Draft pick who could start right away. Played four seasons at Miami (Fla.), appearing in 48 games. He started 46 games over his career at left tackle, left guard, right tackle and right guard. He was a three-time All-ACC honorable mention.

Bottom Line: Feliciano will be in the mix to earn the starting right guard spot.

Matt McCants | 6'5" | 309 | UAB | 3rd Season>

McCants has shown his versatility along the line and as an extra tight end in short-yardage and goal line situations. He has seen action in 24 games with three starts in his two seasons in Oakland.

Bottom Line: McCants has proven to be a valuable back-up. He'll have to show something special in camp to unseat a starter.

Lamar Mady | 6'2" | 315 | Youngstown State | 3rd Season>

Mady was elevated to the active roster from the practice squad and saw action in seven games in 2013. He spent the 2014 campaign on the practice squad after taking a bit of a step back during the offseason last year.

Bottom Line: The Raiders shored up the line in free agency and the Draft, it'll be difficult for Mady to make his way.

Tony Bergstrom | 6'5" | 315 | Utah | 4th Season>

Labeled early on a zone blocking scheme guard, Bergstrom has had trouble getting on the field as the Raiders have transitioned to more of a power-gap scheme. He did, however, see action at center during the offseason program. He has seen action in nine games with start.

Bottom Line: This is a make-or-break situation for Bergstrom. Perhaps he sticks as the back-up center.

Dan Kistler | 6'7" | 315 | Montana | 2nd Season>

Kistler spent last season on the practice squad after making some noise during the preseason. Kistler is country strong and rangy. If the Raiders were to start an NBA team, they'd have a heckuva crop of power forwards to choose from. He played four years at Montana, appearing in 47 career games with 42 starts at both tackle and guard.

Bottom Line: Kistler will need to put together an impressive camp and preseason to compete with the talent the Raiders have along the line.

Anthony Morris | 6'6" | 290 | Tennessee State | 7th Round>

The lightest of the Raiders offensive linemen, the Silver and Black took Morris in the 7th round of this year's Draft. He played four seasons at Tennessee State, appearing in 35 games with 34 starts over his career.

Bottom Line: I have maintained throughout this series, that teams don't use Draft picks on players for nothing. But, a smaller player from a small school better bring something special to the table.

Mitch Bell | 6'3" | 347 | Lousiana Tech | UDFA>

Bell, on the other hand, is one of the heavier offensive linemen on the roster. Signed by Raiders after participating on a tryout basis at the team's rookie mini-camp in May, Bell played two years at Louisiana Tech after transferring from Navarro Junior College in Corsicana, Texas He played in 24 games with 20 starts in two seasons at Louisiana Tech Bell earned first-team All-Conference USA honors as an offensive lineman.

Bottom Line: He certainly has the size, but undrafted rookie free agents usually have to show a little something extra to make the team.

Quinterrius Eatmon | 6'6" | 310 | South Florida>

Eatmon played four years at South Florida, appearing in 47 games with 46 starts. He finished his career ranked second in school history in games started Eatmon started 34 games at right tackle before moving to right guard prior to his senior season. As a senior, he started all 12 games, including 10 at right guard, one at left guard and one at right tackle.

Bottom Line: He was signed as an undrafted free agent for a reason. With his size and build, probably better suited to play tackle. He'll have to prove he belongs.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content