In a move to avoid another offensive line injury plagued season, the Oakland Raiders have added necessary veteran and youth pieces to the O-Line since the start of Free Agency. Along with those new pieces, the Raiders have just claimed OT Emmett Cleary off of waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In order to make room for Cleary, the Oakland Raiders waived WR David Gilreath. Gilreath had only been with the team since June 5th, and he clearly didn’t impress any of the coaches during OTA’s and Mini-Camp.
Emmett Cleary was signed by the Buccaneers in October of 2013 as an Undrafted Free Agent, and he spent most of his time on their practice squad. Prior to that, Cleary played his collegiate ball with Boston College from 2009-2012. At Boston College, he earned starting roles at both left and right tackle.
Cleary is 6′ 7″ tall and weighs in at 324 pounds. He has the body to be a tackle in the NFL, and, with the help of Tony Sparano, he could be a very nice backup to Menelik Watson, Khalif Barnes, Austin Howard, or Donald Penn, should we lose any of them to injury.
Of course, he must compete for a roster position beginning in July when the Raiders start Training Camp, but this new offensive line has been overhauled for a reason. It was time to get rid of the non-performers and bring in a hungry batch of new faces. In order for this offense to be productive, the offensive line is going to have to keep QB Matt Schaub on his feet, and the pieces added have the ability to do just that.
Besides Training Camp, Pre-Season Football will definitely be a good barometer as to how well the new O-Line is coming together. I’m sure there will be some hiccups along the way, but I like the how this OL’s lineup is shaping up to be. So far, it looks as though the starters will be (from left to right): LT-Donald Penn, LG-Gabe Jackson/Khalif Barnes, C-Stefen Wisniewski, RG-Austin Howard/Khalif Barnes (depending on Howards injured finger), and RT-Menelik Watson.
Obviously things could change if some of these players get hurt in Training Camp or Pre-Season, but it’s looking good so far. Emmitt Cleary (#62) will add youth and depth to the Tackle positions which was clearly missing in 2014. We are now entering the dead space between Mandatory Mini-Camp and Training Camp, so enjoy your summer Raider Nation!