Raiders training camp outlook: Offensive tackles

          One story in a series, looking at position breakdowns for the Oakland Raiders, who arrive for training camp in Napa, CA, on July 24. Today – a look at offensive tackle:

Despite their substandard performances in the Super Bowl, expect Barry Sims and Lincoln Kennedy to continue as fixtures on the Raiders offensive line.

Kennedy, who starts at right tackle, was voted to the Pro Bowl for the third straight year and continues to establish himself as one of the best tackles in franchise history. Other than Hall-of-Famer Art Shell, you'd be hard-pressed to name an offensive tackle in franchise history that you can say, with conviction that has had a better career in a Raider uniform than Kennedy. The 6-foot-6, 335-pound mammoth was plagued by migraine headaches last season but continued to perform at a high level.

Sims has been the epitome of the term "steal." He made the team as an undrafted free agent in 1999 and has become a solid starter at left tackle the last 2-1/2 seasons. Sims continues to combat injuries with his feet but has turned into a very good pass blocker.

The Raiders have second-year man Langston Walker waiting in the wings. Walker is a jumbo-sized 6-8, 345, and many draft touts blasted Oakland for taking him in the second round. Walker, however, exceeded those expectations. Walker, who can play either guard or tackle, played well when called upon and was even used as a third tight end.

Brad Badger, Matt Stinchcomb and sixth-round draft pick Dustin Rykert supply versatility with their ability to play both guard and tackle. Chad Slaughter could figure into the equation as a backup.

 Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at vdad7@yahoo.com


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