Raiders release first unofficial depth chart
Joe Hansley is facing an uphill battle.
The undrafted rookie receiver is buried deep into the back-end of the Raiders depth chart, with K.J. Brent and Johnny Holton slotting in as the fifth and sixth wide receivers.
Third year defensive back Keith McGill is also listed on the back-end of the chart after spending two seasons struggling to burst onto the scene as a corner and making the total switch to safety this preseason.
Oakland will open its season at Arizona on Friday, in a game that could be telling as to who will make the Raiders final roster. On a team that lacked depth in all areas over the last five or more seasons, this training camp and preseason period has held significantly more intrigue than other years.
Among the surprises for the listed starters is Jihad Ward, who is in front of Dan Williams and Stacy McGee on the always unofficial depth chart. Ward was taken in the second round of the 2016 draft and is regarded as a raw football player with upside.
Perhaps the Raiders want to get a hard look at how raw he is once the ball is snapped.
Tight end Lee Smith is also listed as a starter, in front of 2015 third rounder Clive Walford, and 2013 sixth rounder Mychal Rivera. Smith is a big-bodied blocking tight end, while Walford and Rivera are more polished receiving threats.
This comes as a surprise given Jones’ history of fumbles, and the breakaway runs from Richard during training camp practices in Napa, where a stout defense has been hard for all backs to break through.
Head coach Jack Del Rio is the type to keep guys on their toes, though, whether it’s a player or coach, or even a public relations staffer.
This chart is an indication of the final roster, but not anything close to a final indication — Del Rio might just be squeezing guys a little and hoping for extra production.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Raiders football.