Friday, August 5, 2016

Players to Watch:

Linebacker Bruce Irvin: "Versatility" is the most prevalent buzzword in the NFL, but thanks to Irvin, the Raiders can show us a tangible definition. Pairing him with Khalil Mack could be a terrifying proposition for NFL offensive coordinators. The scroll of protection audibles alone could be a mile long. 

Irvin was an eight-sack rookie while playing under current Raiders defensive coordinator (and former Seahawks LB coach) Ken Norton Jr. in Seattle, and now he'll be in a more rush-heavy defense. Training camp will be a great way to discover just how often the team plans on letting both Mack and Irvin loose, and whether the new guy's experience as a traditional 4-3 linebacker will give Oakland the chance to throw out some more exotic looks.

Safety Karl Joseph
Joseph will start no matter what -- a ballhawk and brutal tackler like that doesn't waste away on special teams alone. Depending on how physical the Raiders want to be in training camp, we might not see some of his brightest attributes until the games count in September. 

Assuming Joseph survives the white-board tedium of late July and August, we should emerge from camp with a fuller picture of how the Raiders plan on using their first-round pick and whether he'll fit into the booming Kam Chancellor role that Norton is very familiar with.