By Kevin Saito @Kevin_Saito on June 1, 2014
With so many new faces and so much on the line this season, there will be a lot of intense battles for playing time as Oakland looks to field the best squad possible. Let's look at a few of those battles.
Kevin Saito is an NFL Contributor to RantSports.com and you can follow him on Twitter, @Kevin_Saito or on Google
DJ Hayden had a miserable rookie year thanks to a number of injuries, as well as recovering from a life-threatening heart procedure. He's bulked up and ready to go this season, but still has a lot to learn and will be battling with veteran additions Carlos Rogers and Tarrell Brown for playing time. If Hayden performs as well as he looks in OTAs, the Raiders will have a terrific secondary.
Though they have a few very capable backs in their stable, Latavius Murray, Jeremy Steward, and Kory Sheets among them, the battle for the majority of carries will be fought between veterans Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden. Both have explosive, game breaking potential but have battled injuries. Both claim to be 100 percent healthy and ready to roll and if true, will give Oakland two backs who can change the course of a game.
James Jones is a lock to start the season on one side. Rod Streater, who began to emerge as a potential number one last season will likely start on the other side. But the battle to see who fills out the rest of the rotation will depend on a few players overcoming drops and inconsistency. Denarius Moore, Andre Holmes, Greg Little, Juron Criner, and a few other players will have an epic battle to be Oakland's third receiving option.
With new adds Donald Penn, Kevin Boothe, and Austin Howard joining a depleted line that performed horribly last season, look for the veteran free agents to push the likes of Tony Bergstrom, Khalif Barnes, and Menelik Watson for playing time as Oakland looks to shore up their creaky offensive line and give new QB Matt Schaub protection and time to operate. This should be one of the most heated positional battles in camp.
Though there is officially no QB battle to be talking about, most people know that's not exactly true. For if free agent addition Matt Schaub looks like he's faltering or hasn't rebounded from a dismal 2013, expect to see second-round pick Derek Carr plugged into the starting line up. With so much on the line this year, HC Dennis Allen and GM Reggie McKenzie can't afford shoddy QB play and will keep Schaub on a short leash.
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