Analyzing the Raiders' 53-man roster

September 1, 2012, 5:24 am
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The Raiders' initial 53-man roster -- believe me, there will be some tweaks before the season opener against San Diego on Sept. 10 -- reveals some interesting trends.For example, new general manager Reggie McKenzie and rookie coach Dennis Allen have just five receivers, and two of them were injured most of training camp in Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford, but nine offensive lineman.On the other side of the ball, the Raiders kept seven cornerbacks, including recently-signed Coye Francies, who fumbled his lone kickoff return Thursday in Seattle.Also interesting to note that 36 of the current 53 players (67.9 percent) spent time either on the Raiders' active roster, practice squad or IR last year, giving the team some semblance of continuity in a decidedly new era.And five of their six draft picks made the cut. The only draftee shown the door was seventh-round linebacker Nate Stupar.Also, three of the 53 were practice squad guys in defensive tackle Jamie Cumbie, center Alex Parsons and linebacker Carl Ihenacho. And two undrafted-rookie free agents made the squad in receiver Rod Streater and guard Lucas Nix.A look, then, at the Raiders' current 53-man roster:Quarterbacks (3)
Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Terrelle Pryor
The thinking: And you knew this, maaaaaaaan (Smokey from "Friday" voice).Running backs (5)
Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece, Taiwan Jones, Mike Goodson, Owen Schmitt
The thinking: Goodson and Schmitt might have been nervous, but we weren't. Well, maybe a little for Goodson.Offensive line (9)
Jared Veldheer, Cooper Carlisle, Stefen Wisniewski, Mike Brisiel, Khalif Barnes, Joseph Barksdale, Alex Parsons, Tony Bergstrom, Lucas Nix
The thinking: Nix is somewhat of a surprise, but the Raiders need bodies and he had more positive plays than negative.Tight ends (3)
Brandon Myers, Richard Gordon, David Ausberry
The thinking: Time for Ausberry to step up.Wide receivers (5)
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, Rod Streater, Juron Criner
The thinking: The chemistry between Moore and Palmer must get reignited quickly, and Moore's right hamstring and Ford's left foot better be healthy, just as fast.Defensive line (9)
Lamarr Houston, Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Matt Shaughnessy, Desmond Bryant, Dave Tollefson, Christo Bilukidi, Jack Crawford, Jamie Cumbie
The thinking: What's the feel-good story here? It's Cumbie, dammit (in Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live voice). The practice squad refugee is tall for an interior D-lineman at 6-feet-6.Linebackers (5)
Miles Burris, Rolando McClain, Philip Wheeler, Travis Goethel, Carl Ihenacho (Aaron Curry-PUP)
The thinking: The Raiders will have some serious scrambling to do if McClain gets slapped with a suspension by the NFL. Plus, Curry will miss five games over six weeks -- the Raiders have a bye after Week 4 -- and he cannot begin practice until Oct. 16. And once he starts practicing, he can practice for up to 21 days before being placed on the active roster, should Oakland decide that's the plan. Ihenacho, meanwhile, brings a certain pass-rush element.Cornerbacks (7)
Ron Bartell, Shawntae Spencer, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Chimdi Chekwa, Pat Lee, Bryan McCann, Coye Francies
The thinking: Francies is a head-scratcher, so he figures to be the first to go ifwhen the Raiders need a roster spot. McCann earned a spot with his play against the Seahawks, both as a competent returner and on defense.Safeties (4)
Michael Huff, Tyvon Branch, Matt Giordano, Mike Mitchell
The thinking: A little thin at safety, no? The last line of defense has to stay healthy.Specialists (3)
PK Sebastian Janikowski, P Shane Lechler, LS Jon Condo
The thinking: The closest thing to a sure thing the Raiders have had in many a moon. Lechler is entering the final year of his contract and Janikowski is in the penultimate year of his contract.Oh, and one last thing -- I correctly predicted 50 of the 53 players on the team as I did not have Nix, Chekwa or Francies making it, rather I had receiver Travionte Session, linebacker Nate Stupar and safety Brandon Underwood on the team. (Old school WWF-jabroni Barry Horowitz back pat).

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