Predicting the Oakland Raiders offensive starters for 2017
Before training camp gets underway for the Oakland Raiders, I wanted to take a stab at predicting who the starters will be when the Raiders take the field in week one. Once training camp is over and before the pre-season is over, I will update my predictions based on what we’ve seen in the time between. Tomorrow we will get into the defensive side of the ball so for now, here’s a look at what I imagine the starting lineup on offense for Oakland will be in 2017:
RB: Marshawn Lynch - I don’t know who will end up with the most touches at running back by the end of the season but I fully expect the first hand-off of 2017 to go to Marshawn Lynch.
TE: Lee Smith - This is a great example of why being the starter doesn’t mean a whole lot. If the first play from scrimmage for the Raiders is a run play, there’s a good chance that means Lee Smith is in the game. And I think there’s a good chance the Raiders start off with that type of heavy set. Smith will likely see as much time at TE as the new pass catcher, Jared Cook.
WR3: Seth Roberts - I’m going with a three wide receiver set as the starting lineup for the Raiders on offense, and will do the same on defense. That’s because in the NFL, teams spend more than 60% of the time in these formations which means in reality, slot wide receivers and nickel corners are actually starters. I believe Seth Roberts will be pushed for his number three wide receiver spot by Cordarrelle Patterson and guys like Jaydon Mickens and Johnny Holton. But for now, Roberts is still a guy the coaches and Derek Carr like so it’s a spot that’s his to loose.
C: Rodney Hudson - It’s nice to have such a solid offensive line, isn’t it?
RG: Gabe Jackson - Developing into one of the best in the game.
RT: Marshall Newhouse - There’s the first shocker. Austin Howard is still not 100% healthy and besides that, the Raiders might prefer Newhouse. Last season, PFF graded Newhouse out as a better pass blocker and better overall player than Howard. The only area Howard graded better was in run blocking. The Raiders have shown a strong desire to protect their franchise quarterback and with Lee Smith helping in the run game, a slight downgrade in run blocking is an acceptable trade off to improve your pass protection. Because, let’s be honest. The RT position was a liability in pass protection last year and that’s not acceptable.
This shows you just how good this Raiders offense is. This starting lineup doesn’t include names like Jared Cook, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jalen Richard or DeAndre Washington. The Raiders are stacked on offense and lots of guys will see playing time, not just the starters.