The Raiders recently traded WR Louis Murphy for a future conditional draft pick, opening up a new roster spot for the players who will compete in training camp. The Raiders don’t have a lot of quality depth this season, which makes the training camp battles that much more important in separating the wheat from the chaff. There are always surprises and good players always get cut, but here is my prediction for how the 53-man roster will look when all is said and done.
QB: (3) Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Terrelle Pryor
RB: (3) Darren McFadden, Taiwan Jones, Mike Goodson
FB: (2) Marcel Reece, Owen Schmitt
WR: (5) Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, Denarius Moore, Juron Criner, Rod Streater
TE: (3) Brandon Myers, David Ausberry, Richard Gordon
OL: (8) Jared Veldheer, Stefen Wisniewski, Mike Brisiel, Cooper Carlisle, Khalif Barnes, Tony Bergstrom, Joseph Barksdale, Alex Parsons
DB: (10) Ron Bartell, Chimdi Chekwa, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Shawntae Spencer, Tyvon Branch, Michael Huff, Mike Mitchell, Brandon Underwood, Bryan McCann, Matt Giordano
LB: (7) Rolando McClain, Aaron Curry, Philip Wheeler, Miles Burris, Travis Goethel, Nathan Stupar, Kaelin Burnett
DL: (9) Matt Shaughnessy, Lamarr Houston, Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour, Dave Tollefson, Jack Crawford, Christo Bilukidi, Desmond Bryant
Special Teams: (3)
K Sebastian Janikowski
P Shane Lechler
LS Jon Condo
So there you have it, an even 53. Some quick notes:
- While the Raiders don’t have much in the way of experienced depth, they have drafted well for the past three years and they have a lot of good, hungry young players backing up the established veterans. In a few seasons this could be one of the best young teams in the league, much like the Texans were last season.
- Last season’s defense went to pot right around the time DE Matt Shaughnessy got injured. That is not a coincidence. This year, the Raiders have enough talent at DE that another injury to either Shaughnessy or Lamarr Houston will not be as crippling.
- The Raiders have a lot of WR talent on the training camp roster, but they traded Louis Murphy because they know they can likely only carry so many WR. If they like a guy like WR Duke Calhoun or Eddie McGee a lot, they could put them on the practice squad.
- The media has so often this offseason pointed out that the Raiders have, in successive years, lost their #1 cornerback to another team. The loss of Nnamdi Asomugha was a blow, surely, but Stanford Routt was a walking pass-interference penalty and he is better off with the Chiefs as they have a solid #1 corner in Brandon Flowers and Routt will not be asked to be the #1 guy as he was last year. The Raiders have two promising young CBs in Van Dyke and Chekwa who will play behind two solid starting CBs in Bartell and Spencer. In the Raiders’ new defensive scheme that should be more than adequate.