Raiders Camp Battles: Brandon Marshall Not Guaranteed Starting Spot

Editor's note: We'll take a look at several Raiders training camp battles leading up to the first full-squad practice on Saturday, and then we'll update their progress throughout the preseason. Let's get into the fourth one, focusing on strongside linebacker. 

The Raiders have had mixed results bringing veteran linebackers into the fray. They're hoping Brandon Marshall can help the position group after a 2018 season in Denver where he was hindered by injury.

He also lost a starting spot in the middle after regaining health, so there are obvious question marks about he'll perform moving forward with the Raiders. The offseason program didn't offer many clues.

The veteran wasn't active during a session open to the press until the last day, and that was an abbreviated practice.

He has had a long, distinguished career, and plays with immense confidence and pride, making it impossible to count him out of anything. He could come back strong when training camp begins this week.

If he falters even a little, expect Marquel Lee to capitalize on the opening. The 2017 fifth-round pick has started at middle linebacker in the past, though he had a nice showing after moving to the strong side last season.

With Vontaze Burfict set to start in the middle and Tahir Whitehead being a three-down player best fit for the weak side, the strong side seems to be the spot where this position battle could be waged.

This one's also tough to handicap until we see Marshall in action. The Raiders would prefer he be lined up with Burfict and Whitehead, even with Marshall historically playing in the middle. They need sure tackling and Marshall has been good at that, with the size to play any linebacker spot.

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Marshall is a Las Vegas native who would love to parlay his one-year deal into an opportunity to play in his hometown next year, but he'll have to earn his spot this season and fend off challenges from younger linebackers like Lee.

Early edge: Marshall

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