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Minicamp Preview

Now that minicamp has finally arrived, the Raiders will get a chance to take a look at its draft picks and free agent signings.

Will JaMarcus Russell participate? Will he be cut? Questions only Al Davis can answer and not something worth speculation.

Starting now, the Raiders coaches will begin to shape the depth chart. The coaches may evaluate undrafted rookies and decide to keep a few for the next minicamp and discard a few others after getting a closer look.

One of the Raiders' goals was to have every draft pick make the team. The greatest risk will immediately be safety Stevie Brown, but that could end up being 100% wrong come August, there are always surprises.

What positions should we keep our eye on?

Along the offensive line there should be good competition at right guard and right tackle. Look for who is taking second string reps on the left side, as versatility as a backup is valued. Chris Morris is a prime example.

The second position to watch is defensive tackle. Will Lamarr Houston really play end? If not, are the Raiders content with Tommy Kelly, Desmond Bryant and William Joseph at tackle?

That brings up the question. What is happening at end? It seems there is a glut of ends on the roster if Houston is going to play end as well. The Raiders love Matt Shaughnessy, who is more of a traditional 4-3 end, but there is also Richard Seymour there.

The mysterious defensive scheme change is one of the most intriguing things about this offseason. This scheme change or wrinkle may come into clarity to some degree during this minicamp.

I always enjoyed watching Oren O'Neal lead block, but his inability to stay healthy has put his job up for grabs.

The Raiders can't afford to have a running back be the fullback again this season. The Raiders will have a good competition at fullback with new pieces and old competing for the job.

There will be a ton of competition in the return game and Johnnie Lee Higgins' funny shirts aren't going to be enough to keep him around unless he wins the return job or becomes a much more capable third receiver.

More to come...


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