If the regular season were to start today, the Oakland Raiders would be starting Samson Satele at the center position. This despite the fact that the Raiders were not in a big rush to re-sign the two year starter, not getting around to offering him a contract until early August. This is also despite the fact that the Raiders have attempted to replace Satele with a rookie two seasons in a row.
If you recall, the Raiders started Jared Veldheer, now the starting left tackle, at the center position for the season opener in 2010. However, Veldheer struggled at the position and the Raiders opted to play him at his natural position and give the starting job back to Satele. Then, the Raiders drafted Stefan Wisniewski in this year’s draft and he was almost immediately penciled in as the starting center. However, after a rough training camp at center, the Raiders opted to move Wisniewski to guard and bring back Satele for another season.
It is clear that Satele does not fit into Hue Jacksons power blocking scheme. In fact, the reason the Dolphins were so anxious to get rid of Satele was because he was too undersized to handle bigger nose tackles.
Though it is rather late in the preseason, the Raiders now have an option to replace Satele should they choose to go that route. The Cowboys cut former pro bowl center Andre Gurode earlier this week, despite the fact that he played in the pro bowl this past year.
Many believed that Gurode did not belong in the pro bowl, but the fact of the matter is, he played well enough to be considered, which is more than can be said of Satele. Gurode is an upgrade in terms of size, experience and play prompting Bill Williamson of ESPN to suggest that he would be a good fit in Oakland.
It is rather late in the game to be adding a starting center to your team, but should the Raiders choose to go and get Gurode, it would represent an upgrade to the offensive line that fans have been clammoring for all off season.