Predicting the Raiders' 53-Man Roster
Antoine Johnson – Jun 18, 2013
8-man Practice Squad
Hope this list doesn’t offend the Raider Nation, because it is only the opinion of one’s perspective of the Raiders’ roster and who he thinks will be performing when the season starts.
It is a bit intriguing that the Raiders have a battle going on in camp for the starting Punter job. They signed veteran Chris Kluwe who is believed to be the starting Punter, given the one-year, $840,000 contract he accepted. However, we all know that Reggie McKenzie likes having HIS guys on the roster, and Marquette King is in fact one of his guys. The nine-year vet Kluwe averaged 49 yards a punt in 2012. And given the rumors of King’s inconsistency in practice (booming one punt 70 yards then shanking the next off the side of his foot for 30), it might be a bit of a reach to keep him over a proven veteran. But without a chance to participate in a full game, we will not know how King will perform when he is the only guy to rely on for the punting duties. I think Reggie gives him a chance when it is all said and done. He may not be the next Shane Lechler, but he is worth giving a chance.
The controversy surrounding Tracy Porter about the #24 jersey number that belongs to Charles Woodson* could potentially play a role in the Raiders cutting former RB and newly converted CB Taiwan Jones. That way, Porter will get his traditional number 22 and Woodson gets his number 24.
The Raiders have a ton of WRs and DBs in their camp, and I don’t think that will work out well for some WRs and DBs who might be fan favorites. Yes, I do believe that two undrafted free agent rookies will make the 53-man roster in Connor Vernon and Sam McGuffie. Sorry Brice Butler. I know Reggie McKenzie used a draft pick to lure you to Oakland, but I do not think he will make the team. I also believe WR Juron Criner will be on the practice squad come opening day.
For the DBs, I do not see the Raiders bringing back Chimdi Chekwa at cornerback. He is the last corner on the roster who was present before Reggie McKenzie became General Manager. RM brought in a flee of DBs last year, but they weren’t as good as the talent he brought in this year (Woodson, Jenkins, Porter).
Currently, LB Kaluka Maiava has been sporting jersey number 50 in OTAs, which is the number of Travis Goethel who has not participated in OTAs due to injuries. Those injuries will play a linear role in him potentially not making the team, and Maiava being the real number 50 this season in Oakland.
Don’t be surprised if the Raiders trade or release QB Terrelle Pryor. I think his skill set is perfect for the talent they have in place, but with rumors that McGloin has been impressing coaches in OTAs, if there has to be an odd man out between Pryor, Matt Flynn and Tyler Wilson, one has to believe it will be Pryor. McKenzie didn’t use a 4th round pick on Wilson for no reason, and he is more familiar with Matt Flynn than any of the other QBs, given their time spent together in Green Bay.
The choice of having WR Sam McGuffie on the 53-man roster is for two main reasons. The first is for special teams purposes to return punts and participate on kickoffs and punt coverage. Oakland has been struggling to find a Punt Returner for quite some time, and McGuffie is probably the best option they currently have. The second reason is for insurance on injury-prone slot WR Jacoby Ford. Ford tweaked his hamstring recently in OTAs, and he has missed the majority of the past two seasons, not playing in one regular season game last season. And with Cribbs returning kicks and McGuffie potentially returning punts, that can either be a sign that Ford is on his way out or McKenzie has future plans for Ford and doesn’t want him returning balls, in an attempt to keep him healthy.
Kasa was also a draft choice, but I don’t think he’ll initially make the 53. I think Ausberry will be the starting TE, with Rivera getting significant playing time at FB and TE, used similarly to how the San Francisco 49ers used Delanie Walker the past few seasons. Richard Gordon makes the roster as the third TE over Kasa for his outstanding play on special teams. He was in on every tackle in punt coverage last season, and things like that get coaches attention.
Still in a rebuilding phase, the Raiders will have a very long season. They lack a number 1 WR on their depth chart, but they are relying on their third year guy Denarius Moore to fill that void. He showed some flashes last season, but was inconsistent once injuries began to occur. Their pass rush was putrid last season as well, but bringing back Andre Carter and drafting Sio Moore and David Bass should provide a bit of a better spark than last year. Miles Burris was also a decent 3-4 pass rusher in college, so if Oakland incorporates some 3-4 packages, expect to see a lot of blitzing from Burris and Moore.
It may be a long season for Oakland. But if guys like McFadden, Ford and Woodson can stay healthy, three leaders on and off the field, Oakland has a chance to be a better team than they were last year. And the open competition is a great concept, but at this point they should establish who their starting QB is, and let the other two battle it out. If one is standing out more than the other, then they should have a competition for the starting job. Presumably the starter is Flynn, but Pryor and Wilson deserve a fair amount of snaps with those first-team guys. They need all the help they can get.
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