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Raiders training camp roster breakdown: Offensive line

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Signing Kelechi Osemele in free agency boosts the Raiders' offensive line. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Signing Kelechi Osemele in free agency boosts the Raiders’ offensive line. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The offensive line jumps in for part six of this 10-part series breaking down the Raiders training camp roster.

Kelechi Osemele‘s signing in free agency created plenty of hype for this group. The deal to retain left tackle Donald Penn gave it another boost.

The group may only have one combined Pro Bowl appearance — Penn in 2010 — but it’s a solid group that could see that number rise. Let’s take a look at them: 

The starters

Retaining Penn at left tackle was critical, mostly because Osemele will now play play left guard. Offensive line coach Mike Tice told me of Osemele in March, “When we see him on tape, we see him as an elite guard. I don’t see that same thing at left tackle. We had to be very thankful when we got Donald back.”

Penn is a stabilizing force both on the line and in the locker room. The Raiders gain continuity at an important position where Osemele can also back up.

Osemele’s presence bumps Gabe Jackson from left guard to right guard, where he takes over for the departed J’Marcus Webb. That’s an upgrade. And Jackson, after a season playing in between veterans Penn and Rodney Hudson, should be well-equipped for the move. Tice, for one, doesn’t expect any issues.

The team views Hudson as a Pro Bowl-quality center and really now, from left tackle through right guard, there’s Pro Bowl potential. Even right tackle isn’t a black hole. Austin Howard was serviceable last year and is an experienced veteran, although Menelik Watson likely has a small leg up on the competition for the job. Either way, the Raiders are in good shape if that’s the only weakness.

The key will be to see if this group can help boost a running game that finished just 28th in the league. Jackson gives them a better run blocker at right guard and that Osemele-Hudson-Jackson trio up the middle should move piles.

The depth

If Watson does in fact win the right tackle job — he was in line to start last year before rupturing his Achilles — Howard is a good option as a swing backup tackle. He has 62 career starts after all and remember, he played right guard in 2014. That’s helps his versatility as a reserve.

Jon Feliciano is another key. Tony Bergstrom left in free agency, so the Raiders need a new backup center. Feliciano should be that guy and someone who they hope can fill holes at guard as well. He earned himself a look late last season and made three starts after Howard was injured.

Matt McCants started a couple of games back in 2013 and has played in 26 career games. He’s mostly a backup tackle, but can also play a little guard and is a good contender to be active on game days.

The Raiders drafted LSU’s Vadal Alexander in the seventh round, but the guard/tackle opens camp on the non-football injury list. The length of his absence could impact his ability to make the 53-man roster.

Mitch Bell was signed last year as an undrafted free agent last year and spent the season on the practice squad, which could give him a leg up on the rest of the group. Every other lineman on the roster is a rookie undrafted free agent.

That group includes: center Ross Burbank from Virginia; guard Denver Kirkland of Arkansas; guard Oni Omoile of Iowa State; guard/center Terran Vaughn of Stephen F. Austin and tackle Torian White of Hampton.

 

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Jimmy Durkin

Sports writer for the Bay Area News Group, covering the Raiders.

  • Dakota

    I’ve been there a few times, I have an aunt and uncle in San Carlos….SF and Oakland are very different are they not?

  • SB3

    Of course homie. Cant believe my Raider knowledge is this in question, no more kdding from me.

  • Dakota

    Next question?

  • 24

    New Post you Hooligans.

  • Dan78

    Turiaf went on to GS to bury his career…

  • Dakota

    New Post.

  • DutchRaid

    Yes, but it is changing…Yuppies moving to Oakland.

  • What do you order when you eat at Tallys?

  • inonewordraider

    Yea, rony pissed me off

  • This guy is tightening up his “Dakota” game….

  • No great loss.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Enough of this nonsense.
    Nurse has zero pull.
    Just email Durkin.
    But if Stapler doesn’t plead his own case, it’s unlikely.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    You got a boat don’t you?
    It is the Bay Area.

  • RaiderCODE

    The Mighty McGloin is not long for this team…

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CoUIoBGWcAEZsKL.jpg

  • Ronin559

    Oh he will get over 200 touches in the season easily. He will get somewhere between 215-235 carries. He will average about 14 carries a game, I have little doubts about that. He will get those 1st and 10 runs late in the game as they are generally down hill runs which he is best at.

  • ForHundred8

    Devin Hester… thoughts?

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  • ComptonRaider

    Yes sir it does

  • 2romes

    I could not read half the tread you posted. You would not have apologized like the Hillary campaign so I view your style more like the Trump sort. You’re still trying to blame a team that got rigged ,( Team Sander’s ), what the Hillary team did by the rigging the election was wrong. She stated she heard the Sander’s team and now many of the Sander’s team are on board. Repeat, Hillary said she heard the Sander’s team. Cleaned out your ears, the people are talking.

  • 24

    You’ve confused me. What are you talking about? I have supported Bernie Sanders and will now support Jill Stein. I shared an article for those that might be curious. Not sure where you’re going with the rant.