Raiders OTAs 2024: Must-watch storylines and key position questions

Las Vegas Raiders OTAs Aidan O'Connell
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders are preparing for the 2024 season as they kick off Organized Team Activities (OTAs) on Monday at the team’s training facility in Henderson, Nevada.

Raider Nation’s excitement is sky-high. Fans are optimistic about the team’s 2024 season after Antonio Pierce became the 23rd head coach in the franchise’s history. The mix of new blood and returning favorites like Davante Adams and Maxx Crosby means expectations are high, too.

There are several important narratives to watch out for during Raiders OTAs, although training camp is where we’ll learn the most. From the competition among quarterbacks to adjusting to a fresh new Luke Getsy offense, the Raiders OTAs are expected to play a crucial role in determining the team’s direction moving forward. Here’s what you should keep an eye on this week:

Related: Raiders Schedule Release: Las Vegas opens season in LA vs. Harbaugh and the Chargers

Raiders OTAs quarterback competition: O’Connell vs. Minshew

Las Vegas Raiders OTAs Aidan O'Connell Gardner Minshew

The Raiders’ quarterback situation has been a storyline since fourth-round rookie Aidan O’Connell took over midway through the 2023 season after the Jimmy Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer disaster unfolded. While the team didn’t make any moves to grab one of the top quarterbacks in April’s NFL Draft, they did sign a serviceable veteran in Gardner Minshew, who almost led the Indianapolis Colts to a playoff berth last season.

With O’Connell and Minshew set to compete for the QB1 spot heading into the 2024 campaign, it will be key to see how quickly both quarterbacks can adjust to Getsy’s new offense during Raiders OTAs. Expect an equal amount of snaps per quarterback, but we’ll see if anyone gains an edge heading into camp in July.

Don’t expect a clear leader to emerge from Raiders OTAs, but it should give us a very early look at who could have an edge entering full training camp later this summer.

Raiders OTAs cornerback questions

Las Vegas Raiders OTAs cornerbacks

Jack Jones has locked down one outside cornerback position, and now there’s fierce competition for the spot on the other side. The Raiders seek a dependable player to support Jones in the secondary. They have veterans and a new crop of rookies to make it competitive while also looking to build depth.

General manager Tom Telesco selected drafted Mississippi State cornerback Decamerion Richardson in the fourth round and Pittsburgh’s MJ Devonshire in the seventh. With veterans Jakorian Bennett and Brandon Facyson, the two returning players with an edge to win the spot, that doesn’t mean one of the rookies couldn’t win out. The Raiders OTAs will give us our first look at some newcomers and see how Facyson looks after missing last season with an injury.

Read more: Top 10 best Las Vegas Raiders NFL draft picks of all-time, including Marcus Allen

Raiders offensive line rotation

Raiders OTAs will also give us the first look at an offensive line in flux. Draft pick Jackson Powers-Johnson looks to be the shoo-in at right or left guard (pairing him with Kolton Miller makes a lot of sense), and returning rotational tackle Thayer Munford, Jr. is favored at the right tackle position.

But the Raiders also added tackle DJ Glaze from Maryland in the third round this year, signed veteran right tackle/guard Cody Whitehair and returned the likes of Dalton Wagner, Jalen McKenzie, Dylan Parham and signed undrafted rookie free agent Andrew Coker out of TCU. The battle, particularly at right tackle, will be a key storyline until Week 1 of the season.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders may strike gold with undrafted offensive tackle Andrew Coker

Wide receiver race

Las Vegas Raiders OTAs wide receivers

Most fans and observers might not have identified the position as one of the Raiders’ needs in 2024 due to Jakobi Meyers and Davantae Adams’ seasons in 2023. Still, the offense needs a more consistent and reliable outside threat to find a more viable vertical threat. Raiders OTAs will be the first step to finding out if they have the answer to that need with a mix of veterans and rookies.

While second-year wideout Tre Tucker has blinding speed, he’s a slot receiver with much to prove in 2024 regarding consistency and is not an outside threat. Telesco moved quickly in free agency to bolster the receiver room, signing veteran Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Gallup and reuniting with former Los Angeles Chargers pass catcher Jalen Guyton, whom he drafted in his previous role. Gallup and Guyton, both of whom have been slowed in recent years due to injury, could be potential answers to the Raiders’ needs if they can gain their previous form.

Of note is that undrafted free agent Ramel Keyton from Tennessee is a young player to watch. Standing at just under 6-foot-3, 197 pounds, and running a 4.47 40-yard dash, he may be a developmental prospect and undrafted, but his ability to get open vertically could be a surprise come camp. He averaged over 18 yards per reception for the Volunteers in his final two seasons and has a knack for breaking deep past coverage.

Related: Raiders sign former Cowboys receiver Michael Gallup to low-risk, high-reward contract

Two-headed tight end monster

Regarding the Raiders OTAs and the tight ends, it’s not really a battle but a fact-finding mission. With the Raiders selecting Georgia’s Brock Bowers 13th overall in the draft this year, just one season after selecting pass-catching tight end Michael Mayer, many scratched their heads. Yet Bowers is not your normal tight end. He can line up in the slot, outside and even at H-back. The key will be how Getsy uses both players in 12 personnel sets (two tight ends).

To get clues based on Gettsy’s 2023 season in Chicago, where he had a good tight end in Cole Kmet. Last year, the Bears finished seventh overall in the NFL, running two tight end sets (12 personnel). Getsy was in 12 personnel 23.2% of all offensive players the Bears ran in 2023. This means with both Bowers and Mayer playing significant snaps, they both should contribute. The question will be how and how well the Raiders can execute these sets and we’ll get our first narrow glimpse this week in Henderson.

Raiders OTAs will run through June 6th. The Raiders are also set to rid themselves of the albatross, Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract, when he is officially off the books on June 1. That will free up more cap space, which the Raiders could use to bolster several of the positions in need before training camp begins in July.

Read more: Raiders selection of Brock Bowers has huge upside but leaves questions unanswered

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