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Las Vegas Raiders Training Camp 2022 Preview

Raiders Training Camp

Raiders Training Camp
(Photo by John Locher/AP)

Las Vegas Raiders 2022 Training Camp Preview

After the Las Vegas Raiders made the postseason in the 2021 season, they are looking to run it back in a new and improved team. I mean a new head coach (better play-caller), a new elite wide receiver, a new defensive coordinator, and new pieces on defense. The bad news is that all of the AFC West got better, and the division is being labeled as a gauntlet. These position battles in training camp can very well make or break the Raiders in the upcoming season as they look to go to the postseason again.

Three Positions Battles to Watch: RB, OL, LB

Running Back: Josh Jacobs, Kenyan Drake, Zamir White, Brandon Bolden, Brittain Brown, Ameer Abdullah

While it might be clear that Josh Jacobs is the lead back in this group, how long do you think that is? How do these other guys factor into this? Remember that the Raiders declined Jacobs’ 5th-year option and drafted Zamir White in the fourth round and Brittain Brown in the seventh round. They also signed Brandon Bolden, who has a history with new coach Josh McDaniels on the Patriots, and added Ameer Abdullah as well. Kenyan Drake is coming back from injury, meaning this is probably the most cluttered RB room at the start of a Raiders training camp we’ve seen in years.

I’ve written that White is coming for Jacobs’ job, and he should be scared. From there, I think White will make the roster, might even impress, and could become the RB2 for the team. These other names are where it gets more interesting. Abdullah is going to get cut, let’s just get that out of the way — I can’t see a scenario where he makes the team.

Drake, Bolden, and Brown for the last spot or two spots on the RB depth chart will be competitive. Bolden only had 44 rushing attempts last year. But there were some games where he impressed with his limited carries, including six games where he averaged 6.5 or more yards per carry. However small the sample size is, it is worth noting that he does have some good runs in games. The knock against Bolden is that he is 31. Out of White, Jacobs, Drake, and Brown, he’s the oldest by far.

Drake has been the pass-catching back for the Raiders, but he looks like he is on his way out, and maybe not willingly. There have been rumblings of trades for Drake, or he might flat out get cut if the Raiders like the young guns or Bolden. He isn’t bad though, and it would be a mistake to cut him. If he’s not going to be on the Raiders, he should be traded, if not, he should be a valuable asset in McDaniels’ offense.

Which just leaves Brown. If the Raiders are truly looking to get younger at RB, Brown has a solid shot. But he is definitely on the outside looking in to make the roster.

Prediction: Josh Jacobs, Zamir White, Kenyan Drake (Brittain Brown on Practice Squad).

Offensive Line:

  • Guards: Denzelle Good, Dylan Parham, John Simpson, Jermaine Eluemunor, Alex Leatherwood, Alex Bars, Lester Cotton, Jordan Meredith
  • Right Tackle: Brandon Parker. Thayer Munford Jr., Jackson Barton, Bamidele Olaseni, Tyrone Wheatley Jr.

This offensive line is going to be a competitive battle in the Raiders training camp, with some starting positions up for grabs. Kolton Miller is the starting left tackle and while most people aren’t ready for this, Andre James is probably going to be the starting center. Otherwise, there still will be chaos on who is going to be on the OL for the Raiders, much less start. Speaking of conversations that most people don’t want to have Alex Leatherwood didn’t play bad last year … at right guard — he was horrible at right tackle. However, last year at RG he played fine as a rookie, made rookie mistakes, had some good plays and bad. Normal rookie stuff. But he was so bad at RT, that when he did mess up at RG, all hell broke loose. I think he’s going to start at RG regardless. Which just leaves left guard and right tackle.

Let’s start with LG. Denzelle Good should be the frontrunner at the moment, but it’s very close. He’s only been close to playing one full season as a starter and is coming off a season-ending ACL tear. He’s 31 and if he can’t stay healthy, the Raiders might want to cut ties. Dylan Parham has a solid shot to start at LG. Big guy, ran a sub-5.0 40-yard dash, and the Raiders used a third-round pick on him. If he’s not putting pressure on Leatherwood, I think he’s putting pressure on Good. I think he even played a little bit of center at Memphis, so I think as a versatile offensive lineman he makes the team.

John Simpson and Jermaine Eluemanor will be competing for spots at guard. Eluemanor was mostly a backup last year, but he does have starting experience with the Patriots in 2020. Simpson started 17 games at LG for the Raiders last year, but that was because Good was out. Between Good, Parham, Simpson, and Eluemanor, it’s going to be tough to pick one out. I think they might take all because of experience and/or versatility. The other guards on this list are nobodies.

At right tackle, anyone but Brandon Parker, please. Leatherwood was bad at RT, but man, Parker was barely any better. However, his only competition is unproven guys that may have a shot to take his spot. Thayer Munford Jr. was taken in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, he might be the frontrunner in taking Parker’s spot. However, next on the list that could compete for a job is Bamidele Olaseni. He is MASSIVE. 6-foot-7, 340 pounds. He’s underdeveloped and older (26) since he has only been playing football since 2017, however, he might just be a short-term solution if he can figure it out. Tyrone Wheatley Jr. is just a connection to the Raiders seeing as his dad played for the Raiders, I’m not sure he makes the team though.


Tackles: Kolton Miller, Brandon Parker, Thayer Munford Jr., Bamidele Olaseni

Guards: Alex Leatherwood, Dylan Parham, Denzelle Good, John Simpson, Jermaine Eluemunor

Linebackers: Denzel Perryman, Micah Kiser, Kenny Young, Jayon Brown, Divine Deablo, Darien Butler, Luke Masterson, Kyler Fackrell, Johnathan Abram (?)

The only sure thing here in the Raiders training camp at linebacker is that Denzel Perryman is the best out of this group and will start. Currently, he is listed at Will (Weakside LB), but if Patrick Graham, the new Raiders defensive coordinator, runs a 3-4, Will moves from the outside from a 4-3 to an ILB in a 3-4, which would be ideal for the Raiders. He could very well start at Mike too, as the best LB in this group. The rest of this group has a lot of unproven guys vying for a starting spot. I think the talent in this group is competitive, which could mean a heavy rotation of linebackers in Graham’s defense.

Divine Deablo was a Raiders rookie last year. Pretty much not in the rotation for the first 11 games, he was an active part of the defense for the last six games of the regular season. Deablo recorded 41 tackles in those six games — almost seven per game. Currently listed at Sam (Strongside LB), he seems to be the frontrunner at that position given his late-season performance.

Jayon Brown seems hopeful for the Raiders as a Mike (Middle LB) at the Raiders training camp. He had a rollercoaster season with the Titans last year but had some glimpses of great games. From Week 9 to 12 with the Titans, he notched 38 tackles. However, the rest of the year he was either inactive or nonexistent. Can he stay consistent enough to be a starter?

Micah Kiser only had one big game last year with the Broncos, but in that game, he had 12 tackles which was nothing to scoff at. As mentioned, this linebacker group has a lot of unproven guys that show potential. Kenny Young is another guy from the Broncos the Raiders signed in the offseason. He started last season with the Rams and then was traded to the Broncos. He was a consistent part of both teams’ defenses. Despite not playing the final six games, he still was able to get 75 tackles for the year. The competition for Mike will probably be between Young and Brown. Or if Perryman is Mike, these guys will fight for the Will spot.

Luke Masterson, Kyler Fackrell, and Darien Butler will be fighting for a roster spot in the Raiders training camp. Masterson and Butler will be trying to secure at Jack (the other outside LB outside of Sam, usually a hybrid player.) Butler lacks the size to be a true LB, but he might be a coverage-type LB in a Nickelback set. Masterson is bigger but slower than Butler and has more of a chance to play every down than Butler as he has more of an LB built. Fackrell can probably play any of the LB spots, but he might have more of a chance to make the team at Sam.

I put Johnathan Abram here because he does struggle in coverage as a safety. He has improved but sometimes he is lost on defense. He is more of a box safety. If Patrick Graham runs a 3-4, there’s a very real chance we see Abram at the Jack spot to add more speed to the field. While he’s still not the best in coverage, he would add versatility to the defense if they ran or pass the ball as he is already a box safety. Especially if the Raiders don’t like their options at Jack, they could see if Abram plays there. Moehrig and Gillispie haven’t disappointed in the secondary at safety, meaning Abram could be on his way out.

Prediction: Denzel Perryman, Kenny Young, Divine Deablo, Micah Kiser, Jayon Brown, Luke Masterson, Kyler Fackrell, Johnathan Abram

Fantasy Sleeper: Zamir White

White is a sleeper for the Raiders this year. Even though the Raiders RB room is crowded, he might weasel his way into some solid fantasy production. Jacobs hasn’t played a full season since he’s been in the league, and, like mentioned above, the Raiders didn’t pick up his fifth-year option. Jacobs could very well be on his way out and White is the likely replacement. It won’t be at the beginning of the year, but maybe around the middle or the end of the year (end of your fantasy season too), we should see White more and more in sets once he understands the offense. I like him a lot in a dynasty setting. In a re-draft league, I doubt anyone drafts him, but once you see him starting to get the ball in the season, pick him up from the waiver wire quickly as a pre-emptive strike.

The Raiders are looking to be a playoff team again, despite the gauntlet that is the AFC West. Things are looking up for the Raiders as they have a capable offensive play-caller, an elite WR duo, elite TE, and a good QB in their offense. If the Raiders were able to make the playoffs in a year of turmoil, surely they can make it without one? Right?


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