Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Oakland Raiders 2012 Final Roster Predictions

I have a few theories on the Raiders final 53 man roster.

No surprises at QB (Palmer, Leinart, Pryor).  As for protecting the QB, this is the first season in as long as I can recall where there is a good core in place.  Jared Veldheer (LT), Cooper Carlisle (LG), Mike Brisiel (RG), Khalif Barnes (RT), Joseph Barksdale (RT), Alex Parsons (C/G) and Tony Bergstrom (G/T) will all make the team. Stefen Wisniewski (C) will too but if he is not ready to go, he could end up on PUP or even injured reserve.  They will have to weigh the pros and cons of keeping Wiz out and opening that roster spot for some help where it is needed.

No surprises either at RB.  Darren McFadden and Taiwan Jones will get the bulk of touches.  There is no depth if either of these guys get injured. A longshot to make the team, Lonyae Miller, would only be useful for short yardage and Mike Goodson has been slow to emerge as a factor.  Can’t go wrong with Marcel Reece and Owen Schmitt at FB.  I am very glad they got rid of Manase Tonga (FB).

No surprises at TE. Brandon Myers, David Ausberry and Richard Gordon will battle it out. Hopefully, one of these guys just wins the position.  They all seem even in skill.

At WR, new signee Roscoe Parrish has a good chance to make the team on the basis of both Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford being injured. Parrish needs to play well in his chances at kick and punt returns as well as receiver. If Ford can come back healthy, Parrish could be expendable unless he shows his old form.

Receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey, Juron Criner, Rod Streater are all sure bets to make the team.  I like what I have seen from rookie Brandon Carswell but he may very well end up on the practice squad. 

Defense is going to need a lot of healthy bodies.  The deepest position is at DL.  Matt Shaughnessy, Lamarr Houston, Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Desmond Bryant and Dave Tollefson are sure to make the roster. Christo Bilukidi is a 6th round draft pick and has played well enough to warrant consideration as well.  Though he faces strong competition from fellow rookies Jack Crawford and Dominique Hamilton.  Jamie Cumbie is a second year player who has made his presence felt.  He was in camp last season and ended up on the practice squad.

My impression on the DL is injuries will play a factor with who they keep. It is possible Bilukidi’s speed and athleticism will earn him a place on special teams.  Speed is where Crawford, Hamilton and Cumbie don’t equal Bilukidi.

LB is dicey and the one area where the Raiders are desperate for quality play. It looks like Aaron Curry will not be returning, at least not anytime soon. I don’t think he would be effective even if 100% healthy. That leaves the door open for  Miles Burris to receive a baptism of fire very early in his NFL career.  Rolando McClain, Philip Wheeler are obvious locks.  Beyond that, I would think you have to go with the most impressive performers in preseason.  Chad Kilgore and Carl Ihenacho should make the team on that basis alone.  Both of those guys are quality LB backups and would impact special teams.  Travis Goethel is a toss-up.  Personally, I don’t think he has shown much but other observers seem to feel he is the right guy to be backup MLB.  I get the impression the coaching staff is not high on Nathan Stupar who will be lucky to even make the practice squad.

At CB, Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer will start.  I think Pat Lee is a lock to be a backup.  I also don’t think they will give up on Chimdi Chekwa or DeMarcus Van Dyke just yet.

At Safety, you have to go with the obvious: Michael Huff, Tyvon Branch, Mike Mitchell and Matt Giordano.

My gut feeling is both K Eddy Carmona and P Marquette King will be practice squad players if they clear waivers.  I suspect both Janikowski and Lechler will be trade bait after the 2012 season to try and fill other needs.  As stated previously, both Jano and Lechler are overpaid, despite their productivity, the team needs to clear cap space to bring in more talent.

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