Raiders Analysis: Full Roster Breakdown

With all the player activity in the last 48-hours it’s time to take a look at the men that (currently) comprise the Raiders roster.

Here is a brief breakdown of every man wearing Silver and Black in 2011.

Quarterbacks 

Jason Campbell – This is a make or break year for JC. He’s got an expiring deal and needs a good showing in order to keep himself in the mix as a starting QB in the NFL. He looked very good in the preseason so expectations are very high.

Kyle Boller – Boller gets the backup job by default. Trent Edwards was bad enough to get the boot but Boller wasn’t much better. Should Campbell succumb to injury the Raiders will lean heavily on the running game. Boller is not going to be any threat to Campbell.

Terrelle Pryor – Perhaps the most talked about third string QB not named Tebow. Time will tell on TP as he’s a massive project at QB.

Running Backs

Darren McFadden – It’s all about his health. If Run DMC finally gets a full 16 games under his belt there is little doubt he won’t emerge as one of the elite weapons in the NFL. He could be the difference between another mediocre season or a trip to the playoffs.

Michael Bush – Tenuous times for Bush. He’s on a one-year deal and has an explosive rookie gaining ground on him by the day. Could this be the year Al Davis finally deals Bush?

Taiwan Jones – His speed made him a Raider but his game could make Michael Bush expendable. In his preseason debut Jones showed there is more to him than speed. He’s shifty, fights for every yard, looks for contact and is uncatchable in the open field. Hue Jackson has got to find a way to get him touches.

Rock Cartwright – The heart and soul of the special teams and reining winner of the Commitment to Excellence Award.

Michael Bennett – Perhaps the most surprising player to make the team. He’s buried deep behind a stable of stud running backs. Would be shocked if Bennett is on the roster for more than three weeks.

Fullback

Marcel Reece – He’s among the best secret weapons in the NFL. Al Saunders has got to get this guy involved in very creative ways with his size, speed and versatility.

Wide Receivers

Darrius Heyward-Bey – He’ll never become a dominant NFL receiver but DHB is making serious strides in his third season. He’s running great routes and is actually getting open. His hands are improving though he’ll never be a totally reliable target.

Louis Murphy – Murphy is at a crucial phase in his young career. He’s shown flashes of brilliance followed by moments filled bonehead mistakes. He’ll be out for the opening week and didn’t play at all in the preseason. He’s got plenty of competition so Murph will need every rep he can get this season.

Jacoby Ford – The gem of the 2010 draft. Ford was Oakland’s most dynamic weapon not named McFadden in 2010. He scored in almost every way possible and is a threat to make a house call whenever he gets his hands on the rock.

Chaz Schilens – Nothing much to say except the obvious. He’s got to get healthy and produce. This should be the final year of the Schilens experiment if he can’t play more than 12 games.

Denarius Moore – Moore has been compared to Jacoby Ford. By looks of his performances in camp he could be Oakland’s latest gem unearthed in the draft. No telling what kind of a role he’ll have but you’d expect he’ll return kicks and will work his way up the depth chart on offense.

Derek Hagan – Was signed to be a camp body and wound up getting himself a job. Hagan’s talent was well known thanks to his record setting days at Arizona State. Unable to land a steady gig in the league Hagan could be a fixture in the East Bay if he continues to plays his cards right.

Nick Miller – A fan favorite for years now, it was a little shocking Miller made the final cut. He’s got all kinds of competition for returning kicks and is buried deep on the depth chart at receiver.

Tight Ends

Kevin Boss – He can’t possibly replace Zach Miller’s offensive contributions. However Boss is a better blocker and better weapon in the red zone. The immediate concern is his health after suffering a knee injury in the Battle of the Bay.

Brandon Myers – Third-year for Myers will be his most important. He was drafted as a blocker but has shown the occasional ability to make a play in the passing game.

David Ausberry – Converted receiver is still learning the position. He has all kinds of athletic ability as evidence by his sick TD grab against the Cards in his preseason debut. Also has some very inconsistent hands. A project but well worth the risk considering he was a 7th round role of the dice.

Richard Gordon – A little surprising that the Raiders would keep 4 tight ends on the active roster. Gordon is a punishing blocker with size and great athletic ability.

Offensive Line

Jared Veldheer – The sleeper of the 2010 draft is already paying dividends. After the failed expirement of making him a center the Raiders came to their senses and let him play his natural position of left tackle. He hasn’t looked back since and improves with each day.

Stefen Wisniewski – Top pick of Oakland’s 2011 draft class is proving he’s more than a legacy pick. Perhaps one day he’ll take over at center. For now the New Wiz is looking very good at left guard.

Samson Satele – Raiders couldn’t afford to let him walk, not with all the new faces on the line. Had his best season as a Raider last year and is showing his true value in the running game and on screens.

Cooper Carlise – Hard to believe he’s still starting but Carlisle still has some left in the tank. Not the most consistent guard by any means but as of now is the defacto starter until someone else emerges (looking at you, Bruce Campbell).

Khalif Barnes – Right tackle is the worst position on the roster and has been for years now. Barnes’ preseason was filled with mistake after mistake. Every lineman holds it’s just a matter of the officials calling it. However pre-snap penalties are unforgiveable. Barnes is on a very short leash.

Joe Barksdale – Rookie out of LSU has some real potential. There’s no reason why he can’t leapfrog Barnes. He could also find himself playing on the interior. Another good value pick by the Raiders.

Bruce Campbell – Raider Nation has been dying to see him pull on sweeps. He’s an athletic freak that is still very raw. He plays with his pad level far too high plus he runs hot and cold. Still a work in progress, not even Al Davis can debate that.

Stephon Heyer – A quality signing that will prove vital. Heyer played almost every position except center along the line during the preseason. He’ll figure into the starting lineup at some point. .

Defensive Line

Richard Seymour – The heart and soul of the defense, dare I say the entire team. Seymour’s dominance hasn’t disappeared. He’s still a force and could well be on his way to the Hall of Fame. But before that he’s got to get the run defense up to par. That alone will merit a bust in Canton.

Tommy Kelly – In 2010 we finally saw the consistency Al Davis imagined when he gave Kelly a $50-million deal. His athletic ability is unquestioned the only issues related to Tommy’s effort and desire.

Matt Shaughnessy – His stock keeps climbing. Shaughnessy arrived as a pass rusher but is developing into a reliable defender in run support. He could earn a trip to Hawaii with a breakout season in 2011.

Lamarr Houston – Personnel evaluators around the league are raving about Houston. He can play almost anywhere on the line. Houston also plays with a mean streak and is the blueprint for Coach Jackson bully building. Big things are expected in his second year.

John Henderson – He’s a run stuffing monster in the middle when healthy. The long time NFL vet is a big piece (pun intended) of Oakland’s plan.

Desmond Bryant – As an undrafted free agent out of Harvard the odds were long that Bryant would even make an NFL practice squad. Here he is with three years of Silver and Black service under his belt. Bryant has all kinds of natural ability but has yet to put it all together on a consistent basis.

Jarvis Moss – A former first round pick of the rival Broncos, Moss had found a home in Oakland. He’s got great size and is valuable on passing down.

Trevor Scott – It was nice to see Scott back in action after a knee injury cut his season short in 2010. After trying to move him to weak-side linebacker the Raiders have settled on Scott as a pass rushing specialist which is his best quality to begin with.

Linebackers

Rolando McClain – A ton of responsibility was dropped onto McClain’s shoulders as a rookie. He steadily improved each week but has yet to become the dominant defender. Ironically the knock on him was he could defend the run and not the pass. So far the exact opposite has been true.

Kamerion Wimbley – A Cleveland castoff, Wimbley resurrected his career. His play in 2010 earned a phat contract. Now he’s got to prove his worth as an elite defender. Primarily a pass rusher, Wimbley plays linebacker but looks much more comfortable in a three-point stance.

Quentin Groves – Oakland’s linebackers are thin on talent after the aforementioned McClain and Wimbley. Groves is still starting on the weak-side but he’s by no means the long term solution.

Darryl Blackstock – Not a stellar talent but Blackstock gets the most out of what he’s got. He’ll never be a playmaker but he’s steady enough to be relied upon should an injury or two occur.

Ricky Brown – He’s baaaack. Brown was just signed and figures to jump right in and see action in place of the injured Travis Goethel.

Bruce Davis – A late season addition in 2010, Davis could become a starter in 2011. Not that he’s that good, though he didn’t look bad in the preseason. The weak-side job is just very wide open.

Defensive Backs

Stanford Routt – A testament to the Al Davis way, Routt has improved every year as a Raider to the point the team was willing to let Nnamdi Asomugha walk. With Routt being the best corner on the roster he can expect to get plenty of the Nnamdi treatment as teams will largely ignore him while focusing on his counterpart.

Chris Johnson – By no means an elite level corner, Johnson has gotten the most out of his talents. He’s going to be relied on to play a big role starting opposite Routt this season.

Tyvon Branch – One of the best strong safeties in the league, Branch is a beast against the run and is a hard hitter against the pass. He isn’t a ball hawk but has a way of creating timely turnovers.

Michael Huff – He can’t tackle, routinely takes bad angles and was thought to be on his way out of Oakland. What he can do is cause havoc with his speed and active nature, the guy just always seems to be around the ball. Huff Daddy is a playmaker, plain and simple. He’s put together his best to years as a pro in succession.

DeMarcus Van Dyke – No real surprise that Oakland drafted the fastest man at the NFL draft combine. What is surprising is how much they’re relying on him as a rookie. DVD shows real talent in coverage. Still, covering is only half the battle. He’s got to make plays on the ball.

Chimdi Chekwa – Currently the Raiders are trying to make Chekwa into a safety. Perhaps he hasn’t shown any true instincts as a cover corner but I didn’t like anything at all that I saw from him as the last line of defense. Time will tell but it already feels like he’s getting lost in the shuffle.

Mike Mitchell – We still don’t know the exact nature of his injury. For all we know we might have seen the last of Mitchell. He has yet to define himself in the NFL and his time is running out.

Jerome Boyd – Gotta give Boyd props. My man willed his way onto this roster after two years of trying. He’s a hybrid safety/linebacker in the mold of now former Raider Stevie Brown.

Joe Porter – By far the biggest head scratcher of all the men that made the final cut. He isn’t good in coverage and can’t tackle. The theory is that he’s Hiram Eugene’s replacement on special teams.

Kicker

Sebastian Janikowski – Can we please get some love for Jano in the Pro Bowl? The all-time leading scorer in Raiders history is primed for another stellar season after booting 57-yard bombs in the preseason.

Punter

Shane Lechler – After it is all said and done the Raiders will boast of having the two best punters in NFL history. Too bad Shane is going to be sharing stories of Hall of Fame snubs with Ray Guy.

Long Snapper

Jon Condo – He’s the best in the business. Nuff said.

Practice Squad

Kevin Brock (TE) – A big body with decent blocking skills.

Mason Brodine (DE) – Tall, lanky end that must improve strength.

Jamie Cumbie (DT) – Can you say Terdell Sands part 2?

Jeremy Leman (LB) – Practice squad vet. Third year in league and yet to suit up in regular season.

Eddie McGee (WR) – Former QB turned receiver. Tall with good speed.

Sterling Moore (CB) – Showed plenty of promise in preseason. Should make his way onto active roster

Alex Parson (OL) – Former USC Trojan could see time on active roster as Raiders are thin on O-line.

Manase Tonga (FB) – NorCal native finds himself on Oakland’s practice squad for second straight year.

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