Del Rio: Justin Ellis has edge on Dan Williams

Justin Ellis is lining up as the starting nose tackle in the Raiders' 5-2 defense. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Justin Ellis is lining up as the starting nose tackle in the Raiders’ 5-2 defense. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

NAPA — Dan Williams was a 15-game starter for the Raiders last season at defensive tackle.

But as the team hits its first off day of training camp Tuesday, Williams continues to get his work with the second-team defense. Coach Jack Del Rio said he’s seeing what he needs to from the seventh-year pro.

“Dan is doing good, working hard,” Del Rio said. “He’s doing everything he needs to do.”

But the player who is earning $7.35 million this year isn’t currently in line to be a starter in a base defense that continues to show a 5-2 look.

Instead, that has been Justin Ellis, the Raiders’ fourth-round pick from 2014 who has started 23 games in his own right the past two years.

“Thus far, we as a staff think that Jelly is ahead of Dan, but we’re a long way from lining it up in September,” Del Rio said, referring to Ellis by his nickname.

“Competition brings out the best. Right now, as we’re stacking up our practices, Jelly is a little bit ahead.”

Ellis is coming off a season in which an ankle injury cost him four games. He finished with 22 tackles. Williams had a career-high 48 tackles last year in his first season with the Raiders after playing the previous five in Arizona.

How their playing time shakes down in the regular season remains to be seen, but the Raiders have yet to show the packages they displayed last season with both big bodies plugging up the middle at the same time. Either way, Del Rio knows both will have a role on the defense.

“They’re all going to play,” he said, “it’s just a matter of who gets to trot out first.

“We’re going to use all of the talent we have and we like to play all of our guys. Keep them fresh. We’re going to count on both of those guys to play big for us this year and play a lot for us this year, but who rolls out first? We’ll see. It’s competitive.”


Jimmy Durkin

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

  • M.Shorter

    around the horn?

  • inonewordraider

    Though he was quite and humble, guess hes quiet and cocky. Not very smart when hes up vs anquan harris peters verner and thats just our division

  • R8der4evr

    No Ihops in Tenn?

  • Nothing at all.
    I want my guys arrogant to a point.
    Not “humble” or overly gracious. That’s lame.

  • M.Shorter

    Doesn’t matter to Cooper either way. He’ll line up against anyone and expects to beat them

  • Teabag McKenz

    I have never played WR in both the NFL and in the SEC so I wouldn’t have the slightest clue.

    I was just clarifying the confusion surrounding his statement.

  • SB3

    I laugh at people when they say that the best CFB team could beat the worst team in the NFL. People like to bring up those Miami Hurricane teams in the early 2000s, sure they had talent, but they had Ken Dorsey as QB. And the biggest difference would be in the trenches.

  • R8der4evr

    Dead Dude
    And you get mad at me for kidding about pothead hippies
    SMH Deacon

  • SB3

    He spun Patrick Peterson around in the preseason too. Made him look silly. His footwork is amazing.

  • shredder 1000

  • Gdog

    The all-no-pads team.

    I ran track with a stud football player in college… he said he friggin HATED those guys.

  • Dan78

    All good Baby Al… Heeney Boppers™… Going to be thumping fools…

  • I think they knew all along it was a no go. Not sure why the name even came up

  • Dan78

    JDR nutrition plan… You know the one Mark Davis is also using…

  • r8dercain

    Anybody can be impressive in practice it’s when you turn on those lights step in between those lines against an opponent and start playing against our offense that you don’t know a defense that you don’t know if you started making plays are you started making mistakes if you were to show up on film or you disappear on film these guys in practice all practice well if you know the Playbook you’re going to look good in practice it’s when you have to apply the skills and knowledge on the field in between those lines in pre-season regular season at cetera Etc

  • BuckeyeRaider

    WR James Jones signs with SD, probably to fill injured Stevie Johnson’s spot.

    I liked Jones in his single season in Oakland. Decent possession receiver. Except for that whole double fumble fiasco.

    Coming off a decent season in his return to Green Bay. I’d take Crabtree over him in a heartbeat.

    Still could end up being a nice target for Phyllis.

  • SB3

    C-Wood was pretty arrogant too, liked tooting his own horn, never had an issue with it.

  • JLofty

    you are challenging Willy for longest run-on sentence there pal…

  • Dan78

    Did you see the link I posted earlier.. Those guys knew about that and think Mark is using Begas for leverage… They report he is also meeting with LA people…

  • JLofty


  • r8dercain

    Lol…I’m talking texting

  • Dan78

    Oops you heard it already…lol..

  • inonewordraider

    Phyllis is good, he makes medocre receivers look good, that said we’re going to terrorize his oline

  • DutchRaid

    A little old now…great as the #3 WR on the field, not sure about being the No. 1 or 2. Couldn’t get separation 2nd half of the season…

  • RaidingTexas

    This post has expired.

  • IVRaider

    That Miami team had 20 linemen or linebackers that got drafted in the NFL. That is insane.

  • Dan78

    Phyllis will go down.. He will go down hard..

  • r8dercain


  • Dan78


  • BuckeyeRaider

    Punctuation is your friend. Lol.

  • SB3

    Dolt fans here think that puts them over the top as division contenders, typical.

  • BigTed707

    I thought it smelled funny.

  • Dan78

    I’d be more concerned with Keenan Allen…

  • jesusraiderjim

    Is there mold on it?

  • SB3

    that’s where Ken Dorsey is the difference.

  • 6thlifemeow

    Imagine life if men were just like men now, but women were some sort of domesticated animal, same deal as now, new borns 50% male, 50% domesticated animal. Fred, bringing the Mrs to the BBQ? No Ted, took her for a run, she’s all tuckered on on her cushion , just as well, wanna watch the game without her bugging me for treats.

  • R8drTahoe in SF

    20 to 29 7 7 100.0
    30 to 39 5 6 83.3
    40 to 49 5 8 62.5
    50+ 4 5 80.0
    Xtra pt 39 38 97.4

    yeah, terrible.

    that 63 yard Eric was three years ago I think.

    I’ve seen Seabass stop people from scoring touchdowns as the last man to beat.

    The one thing is the touch backs, I don’t know if that was a coaching request or if he was injured or what…

    as for your huff reference… you gotta be kidding me. Huff never did isht, Jano has been a repeat probowl player and has made and tied records both. Get your bullisht comparison out of here with your jaded perspective.

  • R8erEduc8er

    Lol calm down Heathcliff. All I’m saying is let the best man win. You just wanna say give the job to Jano before the preseason begins. F that. I haven’t been impressed with Jano and his big contract for quite some time now. We don’t miss Lechler and we won’t miss Jano.

  • R8drTahoe in SF

    Janikowski is in all likelihood going to make it to the HOF… but the Raiders not need guys like that so they can save money.

  • R8erEduc8er

    We have some big contracts coming up if you haven’t heard. Jano’s had a gd career for a kicker but if Talvecchio outperforms him, he can’t hit the road. I’m sure Jack and RM feel the same way. He was Al’s pick.

  • R8drTahoe in SF

    Yeah, no doubt. But to out perform him the dude needs to be able to hit the 50 yarders on automatic, cuz Jano does.

    It’ll work itself out one way or the other regardless. As long as the team has a reliable kicker it’s all good.