Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio didn't fill out the depth chart included below. It's officially unofficial, yet released Monday by the team prior to Saturday's preseason opener at Arizona.
Every team does it. Every coach disowns it. Del Rio likes to say ace PR man Will Kiss fills out this position ranking. That's likely what happened. So it's not gospel. Doesn't have to be to offer insight when compared to practice observations since training camp began. The depth chart is listed below, with my comments comparing it to what's been seen over the past 10 days.
Comment: Manuel has a grip on the backup job. Cook hasn't been great thus far, and has been glued to the third unit. There's time for him to change things, but the 2016 fourth-round pick is firmly in third place right now.
George Atkinson III
Comment: Washington has taken significant reps with the first unit, but it's still fair to call Richard the primary backup. The top two backs haven't been used much in practice, and might not see much action in games. Washington has been good early in camp, and will be part of the regular-season carry rotation.
Comment: Cooper (left leg) has been out most of the last week, and K.J. Brent has been his primary backup. Patterson is also quick off the bench. Holton must fight to keep his No. 5 spot with improved receiving and special teams production. The undrafted wideouts haven't shown much thus far.
Comment: Roberts is the slot receiver. It seems Brent is too low on this list. He's definitely used over Mickens.
Comment: Smith always ranks atop these depth charts, and will be the primary blocking tight end. Jared Cook is the top dog in this group, especially as a receiver. He and Derek Carr have developed a quick chemistry. Cook will be a top target during the regular season.
Comment: Donald Penn's absence is glaring. The Raiders need him back in camp, thought it's fair for him to demand an better contract. Newhouse will play right tackle once Penn returns, but flip to the left if Penn ever can't go.
Comment: Jon Feliciano will be the primary backup at all three interior spots.
Comment: Omoile will fight to be the backup center, which could land him a roster spot.
Comment: Alexander has performed well taking most first-team reps, but his position battle hasn't started yet. That will happen when Penn returns and Newhouse can move back to his proper position.
Mario Edwards Jr.
Comment: Edwards will play here in the base defense and move inside on passing downs. He's a versatile chess piece, and could often play a closed end spot with Bruce Irvin on his flank. Autry will be his primary backup and can also slide inside.
Comment: Vanderdoes has impressed early in camp, though Ward will challenge for snaps once he's healthy and ready to come off PUP.
Comment: Hester has spent significant time with the second unit. He was on the top line at first with so many out. Ellis will be used almost exclusively on obvious rushing downs.
Comment: Cowser has looked good thus far, getting heavy snaps as the Raiders go easy on Mack, their defensive superstar, in camp.
Comment: Calhoun remains Irvin's primary backup, and must fare better in his second season working at this edge rushing linebacker spot.
Comment: Del Rio says Lee has been steady in camp and fared well since joining the first team in camp. He'll be given every opportunity to win the starting job, though it remains possible the Raiders look outside the organization for help here. James would likely slide over from the weak side should Lee get hurt.
Comment: James has been a fixture with the first unit. Jenkins was expected to occupy that role, but he has been hurt some and worked with the second unit.
Comment: Amerson has been good thus far and should start. McDonald and Durden are battling for a spot in the 53-man roster.
Comment: Smith's spot on the first unit currently belongs to Carrie. Conley will challenge for it once healthy. This now ranks as the most interesting position battle in camp. Conley is expected to be the slot cornerback, though Carrie can play there and Borders has impressed in slot work with the first unit.
Keith McGill II
Comment: Depth is a concern with McGill (foot) out and extended stretch. Shalom Luani is more of a free safety, and has proven capable at that spot.
Comment: Joseph will start and play every snap if healthy. He has had an excellent start to camp. Melifonwu is his backup, and is expected to play a hybrid linebacker role in certain sub packages.
Comment: The Raiders have quality options here. Their All-Pro Patterson is the top dog. Richard and Washington have experience in this role.
Comment: Richard will be the guy returning punts. Washington can do it, too.