‘Tis the season for bold NFL predictions. With the whole Raiders squad reporting to training camp on July 26, we’ll be in line to learn a lot more about this team before the season starts. The Raiders have already made a lot of bold moves since the ending of the 2018 season. Hiring Mike Mayock, trading for Antonio Brown and drafting Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick were some of the biggest moves the Raiders have made thus far. However, the big moves aren’t likely to stop just yet. With so many new players on the team, it’s anybody’s guess what the final roster and depth chart might look like. Below we’re going to go through some bold things that may happen before the season starts.
Maxx Crosby Starts at Defensive End
Arden Key, the incumbent starting defensive end for the Raiders, may have something to say about this, but Crosby has a really good shot at stealing the spot away. The Raiders pass rush was completely unimpactful in 2018 and Key was part of that squad. He only got one sack, even though he played most of the year. Key has the tools to solidify a spot as the starter, but Maxx Crosby is a very exciting prospect.
“Madd” Maxx is an absolute athletic freak. He’s raw and needs time to grow into his body more. Crosby could be seen as more of a project, but he’s already gotten praise from his defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who compared him to a “Cadillac.” There are two players that will start at defensive end and we’re assuming one of the spots will be reserved for Clelin Ferrell. Key seems confident in his ability to show improvement in 2019, but Crosby won’t make it easy for him. Key could be regulated to only playing during passing downs while Crosby gets more of the every-down reps. It’ll be a fun battle to watch during camp.
Chris Warren III Makes the Roster
Raiders fans love them some Chris Warren III. After lighting up the preseason just a year ago, Warren could find a second life after suffering a devastating injured before the 2018 season. The addition of rookie Josh Jacobs gives the Raiders a pretty crowded backfield, but Warren could sneak his way in. He’ll have to beat out Jalen Richard and/or DeAndre Washington. If the Raiders decide to keep four running backs on the team, Warren could easily beat out Washington, who hasn’t impressed over the years. If the team decides to ride with only three, Warren will have his work cut out for him. Warren will need to put together another monster of a preseason to ensure his spot on the roster. We think he can pull it off.
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The Team Adds a Big Named Free Agent
Part of training camp and preseason is finding who’s not a fit for the team. Also, injuries will always come in to play. These facts could lead to some spots opening up on the Raiders roster. The recently released Mike Daniels could be an interesting target for the Raiders. The Raiders were awful across the defensive line in 2018, so if their young guys fail to impress, it could be smart to bring in a proven veteran presence to help solidify things. Safety Eric Berry is also still lingering around in free agency. Johnathan Abram is expected to start at safety, but he’s just a rookie. If he doesn’t look like he’s ready for the limelight just yet, Berry could be a backup option that would bring leadership to a young unit. Plus, it would piss the Chiefs off, which is always nice.
The Washington Redskins turned heads when they recently released linebacker Mason Foster. Brandon Marshall was battling a small injury earlier this offseason and Vontaze Burfict has had a couple injury issues throughout his career. In the event that either of those two needs to take some time off, Foster would be an excellent addition for the Raiders. He’s a tackling machine and that’s exactly what the Raiders would need if any of their starting linebackers go down.