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NFL Oakland Raiders

5 Storylines to Follow During Oakland Raiders’ OTAs

5 Oakland Raiders Storylines to Follow During OTAs

Matt Schaub
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Today, the Oakland Raiders opened 2014 OTAs as they prepare for a season full of unanswered questions. Coming off a 4-12 campaign and on the verge of a front office rebuild, the Raiders must show significant improvement this season. Before they can do that, though, they need to get through OTAs and training camp.

With that in mind, here’s a look at five storylines to keep an eye on as the Raiders' OTAs get under way.

Who will emerge as the No. 1 WR?

James Jones
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Who will emerge as the No. 1 WR?

James Jones
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As of right now, the Raiders don’t have a No. 1 wide receiver. They signed James Jones this offseason, but he’s a better complimentary player than to-go target. Despite this lack of a true top receiver, there’s plenty of talent at the position. Rod Streater is expected to take another step in 2014, and others such as Juron Criner, Greg Little or Brice Butler could step up as well. Who will end up taking on that No. 1 role?

Will Antonio Smith be healthy in time?

Antonio Smith
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Will Antonio Smith be healthy in time?

Antonio Smith
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders completely rebuilt their defensive line this offseason, adding Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley and Smith to the mix. All three are expected to be starters, but Smith is still working his way back from surgery following a weightlifting incident. It’s unclear how his recovery is going, which might limit his availability when the regular season finally rolls around. Will he be back in time or must the Raiders put a backup plan in place?

What will the RB situation look like?

Darren McFadden
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

What will the RB situation look like?

Darren McFadden
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, the Raiders have three running backs all deserving of touches, but only so many snaps to go around. Veterans Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew are expected to split the load, but one could emerge as the clear favorite. The Raiders also have potential-laden sophomore Latavius Murray waiting in the wings after spending his rookie year on IR. What will the Raiders ground game look like in 2014?

How will the Raiders use Khalil Mack?

Khalil Mack
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

How will the Raiders use Khalil Mack?

Khalil Mack
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to drafting Mack, the Raiders had a pretty solid setup at linebacker. With the first-round pick now in the mix, though, some shuffling with be necessary. Will the Raiders choose to replace either Sio Moore or Kevin Burnett with Mack, or move Burnett inside to replace Nick Roach? It’s still to be decided what the future holds for the Oakland linebacking corps, but we’ll see soon enough what the plan is.

Who will win the starting QB job?

Derek Carr
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Who will win the starting QB job?

Derek Carr
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While the current word on the quarterback job is that it would take something “catastrophic” for rookie Derek Carr to start, you can never rule out anything in the NFL. Carr is a smart, productive player who obviously has a higher ceiling than Matt Schaub. Still, the rookie is inexperienced and doesn’t have the veteran moxy that Schaub does. What if Schaub falters like he did last year with the Houston Texans, though?

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Director of Content for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.