Las Vegas Raiders minicamp: Players to keep an eye on this week

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The Las Vegas Raiders begin mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, and the three-day period is the final time the team will practice until the start of training camp in July.

Though mandatory minicamp won't make or break the roster status of most players, it is highly beneficial for rookies to learn the playbook and prepare for their first training camp, and for players fighting for roster positioning to leave a lasting impression on the coaches until late July, when training camp begins. 

The Raiders have quite a few players to keep an eye on during this week's practices, but we've narrowed the list down to six. 

Raiders to watch at minicamp

The Quarterbacks

Las Vegas' quarterback competition between Aidan O'Connell and Gardner Minshew has been the top storyline for months now. Head coach Antonio Pierce will have to choose between a young player with upside versus a veteran who has shown he can be a serviceable starter but has spent most of his career as a backup.

Both quarterbacks nearly led their teams to the playoffs in 2023. O'Connell showed glimpses of fantastic play in his rookie campaign, but he also had his fair share of struggles. Minshew nearly led the Colts to a division title last year and has proven that he can hold his own as a starter.

While the quarterback competition won't be won or lost in mandatory minicamp, it will take center stage this week. We'll see if there's any change in rep distribution after the signal-callers have split them up until this point.

G Jackson Powers-Johnson

Powers-Johnson didn't see much action in OTAs because he was dealing with an undisclosed injury, so we'll be keeping an eye on his status for mandatory minicamp to see if he can get back on the field.

The 2024 second-round pick is expected to step in as the Raiders' starting guard this season and provide excellent pass protection and elite versatility. The 21-year-old allowed zero sacks and four quarterback pressures in his collegiate career and will look to establish himself as a core member of Las Vegas' future plans.

The rookies

On top of JPJ, we'll be keeping an eye on the entire rookie class — and especially the 2024 draft class — to see if they're standing out and getting any first-team reps.

Offensive tackle DJ Glaze, cornerback Decamerion Richardson, linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, running back Dylan Laube, safety Trey Taylor and cornerback M.J. Devonshire are all vying for depth roles, and Richardson and Glaze have an outside shot to grab a starting role.

As for first-round pick Brock Bowers, he figures to have a prominent role in the offense from the jump, although he'll need to keep progressing. So far, Bowers has managed to stand out for his playmaking ability and versatility.

In addition to the draft class, undrafted free agents will have an opportunity to shine and help their cause ahead of training camp next month.

CB Jakorian Bennett

Bennett struggled in his rookie campaign, as he lost his starting job after four games, dealt with injury, and scored a 41.1 coverage grade. Though Bennett's rookie season was one to forget, the 23-year-old has a chance to snag a starting spot in training camp.

Las Vegas doesn't have an established CB2 on the outside opposite Jack Jones, and Bennett is a leading candidate to capture that role. Getting first-team reps and performing well in minicamp this week would be an ideal step for the former Maryland standout as he looks to secure a prominent role on the defense.

Thayer Munford Jr.

Munford Jr. is expected to take over as the starting right tackle this season after the departure of Jermaine Eluemunor, and after the Raiders didn't spend a high draft pick on the position.

The 24-year-old still has room to grow but was inconsistent in pass protection last season, allowing four sacks and 28 QB pressures in 521 snaps. The former Ohio State Buckeye did perform well in the run game, scoring an 80.4 run-blocking grade.

Munford Jr. will have to display improved pass protection in minicamp and training camp if he wants to be the starter at the right tackle in 2024. 

Tre Tucker

In limited playing time, Tucker showcased his big play ability, as he averaged 17.4 yards per reception and had three catches over 40 yards on just 34 targets. The 23-year-old's versatility to play in the slot and on the outside could be a valuable asset for offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. Tucker will compete with Michael Gallup and Jalen Guyton for the WR3 role, and a strong minicamp would be a step in the right direction in earning that role. 

Tyree Wilson

Wilson had a disappointing rookie season, as he tallied just 3.5 sacks and 24 QB pressures while playing less than 50% of the team's defensive snaps. Despite that, Wilson has an opportunity to seize valuable playing time in 2024.

The 24-year-old has the versatility to move around on the defensive line and has the talent to be a disruptive pass rusher. Performing well at mandatory minicamp and training camp will be vital for Wilson's 2024 outlook. 

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A football fan who started his own website to talk about the Tennessee Titans, Dharya Sharma is an up-and-coming sports writer from Nebraska and has amassed over 1,300 followers on his Twitter talking Titans. Along with his duties on Sporting News, Dharya is the social media administrator for Locker Daily Fantasy Sports.