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Raiders’ Thayer Munford making a push for starting tackle job | Las Vegas Review-Journal
Raiders’ Thayer Munford making a push for starting tackle job | Las Vegas Review-Journal


Raiders offensive tackle Thayer Munford Jr. (77) keeps his space rusher free during training camp at the Intermountain Health Performance Center on Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, in Henderson. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Left_Eye_Images
Raiders offensive tackle Thayer Munford Jr. (77) answers a question during a press conference in training camp at the Intermountain Health Performance Center on Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, in Henderson. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Left_Eye_Images

A surprise competition is developing in Raiders’ training camp. The outcome could result in a big shakeup along the offensive line.

Thayer Munford, the club’s second-year offensive tackle from Ohio State, is making a major push to unseat incumbent Jermaine Eluemunor as the starting right tackle.

In fact, Munford has been getting the majority of snaps with the starting unit at right tackle, with Eluemunor periodically rotating in with Munford or working primarily with the second team.

When asked on Friday if he feels like he is making a move for the starting job, Munford said: “I feel I am.”

That lines up with the thinking inside the Raiders’ building, where there is growing confidence that Munford could be ready to assume a bigger role.

If so, it could mean Eluemunor moving to right guard, a position he’s lined up at 534 times during his six-year career. Or maybe slide into a utility role where he can back up multiple spots, including left tackle should Kolton Miller get hurt.

In either case, Munford ascending to a starter’s role and freeing up Eluemunor to help elsewhere only strengthens the Raiders’ offensive line.

Munford, who played 369 snaps last year while making four starts and appearing in all 17 games, said he prepared all offseason with the idea of earning a bigger role. That included dedicating himself to reworking his body and focusing on the mental and technical aspects of playing right tackle.

The objective was clear. “We all want to get the starting job,” Munford said.

Two weeks into camp, it’s obvious the Raiders are open to that possibility. Unlike last year, when there was rotation at nearly every position on the line and the competition for roles extended a month into the season, the Raiders have streamlined things considerably in this camp.

Aside from veteran Greg Van Rotten alternating with Alex Bars at right guard on a handful of occasions, it’s essentially been the same starting five throughout camp.

And more and more, it’s Munford getting the nod at right tackle rather than Eluemunor.

Munford isn’t taking anything for granted, though.

“We have talented tackles in the room,” Munford said. “We know what’s going on. We know how the business side goes, so we’re going to compete. We’re going to compete every day.”

Eluemunor beat out a handful of candidates to win the job last season and finished the year as the 21st-ranked tackle (out of 81) in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

In fact, Eluemunor’s emergence helped the Raiders’ offensive line finish the year ranked 10th in the NFL after starting the season as the second-worst group in the league.

After fighting over the last six seasons to prove his worth in the NFL — bouncing around among three teams in the process — Eluemunor viewed last season as his breakthrough. As he pointed out on Wednesday, this camp represented the first of his career in which he reported as an incumbent starter.

“It’s been dope,” he said, pointing out that his approach this season is more about “solidifying my spot than it is earning it.”

Two weeks into camp, though, Munford appears to be making a serious push.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

This content was originally published here.

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