Oakland Raiders: 53-Man roster projection
By Austin Gayle
August 30, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) misses a pass against Oakland Raiders cornerback D.J. Hayden (25) during the second quarter in a preseason NFL football game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Left Cornerback: T.J. Carrie, Reserve: Keith McGill
Free Safety: Nate Allen, Reserve: Brandian Ross
Strong Safety: Charles Woodson, Reserves: Larry Asante, Taylor Mays
Right Cornerback: D.J. Hayden, Reserve: Neiko Thorpe
Though early reports were that Keith McGill was going to get the start opposite of T.J. Carrie, 2013 first-round pick D.J. Hayden looks like he is going to be Oakland’s second starting cornerback, for now.
Hayden did not have a strong preseason. He has been criticized for his performance by multiple analysts (including myself) for his poor play both on the outside and from the slot.
Free safety Nate Allen looked impressive against Arizona, as he was able to pick off former Raider Carson Palmer twice in the first half. Allen has a ball-hawking ability that will help Oakland defensively, and it should help that he is playing alongside future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson.
There isn’t a lot to love about the depth behind Oakland’s top two safeties, but Brandian Ross at least has some experience starting in the NFL.
Taylor Mays could play himself into a backup role in front of Asante, but he should primarily be kept on the roster as a special teams player.