Massive turnover leads to early lineup predictions

Flynn: 'I've never been afraid of competition'

Massive turnover leads to early lineup predictions
April 4, 2013, 11:30 am
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Darren McFadden is one of few Raiders whose starting jobs is not in question. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Talk about turnover.

According to the Raiders, only 16 players currently under contract were on the roster on Jan. 1, 2012, when the Raiders lost a season finale at home to San Diego in a game that cost Oakland a playoff berth and, ultimately, coach Hue Jackson his job. Then again, Reggie McKenzie had yet to be hired as general manager.

Still, just 34 of the 53 players on the active roster were on the team on Dec. 30, 2012, the day the Raiders lost their season finale at San Diego.

And, as an aside, the average age of Oakland's six new unrestricted free agents will be 27.7 on kickoff weekend, while the average age of the nine veterans signed will be 28.4, per the Raiders.

Yes, a million times yes, I know it's only April 4 and there is still a draft to be held and many free agents whose tires still need to be kicked. But the dust is starting to settle on the Raiders after this week's acquisition of quarterback Matt Flynn and the ensuing trade of Carson Palmer to Arizona.

So what better time to take a crack at starting lineups, on both sides of the ball?

OFFENSE

QB Matt Flynn -- With only one more career start that Terrelle Pryor, but with $6.5 million guaranteed this season, Flynn is the presumptive starter. Even if he has not been told as much.

RB Darren McFadden -- He now owns the biggest cap number on the team, so could he be trade bait come draft weekend?

FB Marcel Reece -- Will be interesting to see how the Pro Bowler's hybrid skills are put to use in new OC Greg Olson's offense.

TE David Ausberry -- By default, really, but the converted wide receiver just might get a legit shot.

Offensive line
LT Jared Veldheer -- You catch that photo of the buffed-out Veldheer on the Internet last week?
LG Lucas Nix -- More a right guard, but with a potential vacancy, could land here.
C Stefen Wisniewski -- Then again, might Li'l Wiz move back to left guard and open up the center job for exclusive-rights free agent Alex Parsons?
RG Mike Brisiel -- But just barely, ahead of last year's top draft pick, Tony Bergstrom.
RT Khalif Barnes -- There's a reason the Raiders re-signed him, right? Right?

WR Denarius Moore -- How will he react with his biggest supporter now in Arizona?
WR Jacoby Ford -- Coming off foot surgery, so keep an eye on Rod Streater.

DEFENSE

Defensive line
DE Lamarr Houston -- The lone returning starter on the D-line.
DT Pat Sims -- The nose tackle in a 3-4 alignment?
DT Vance Walker -- Can also play at an end in a pinch.
DE Jason Hunter -- Not a pure speed rusher, but familiar with coach Dennis Allen from his time in Denver.

Linebackers
WLB Miles Burris -- Has said he'd be open to moving to the middle, which could open time for Kaluka Maiava.
MLB Nick Roach -- The former Bears backup to Brian Urlacher itching to shine in the middle.
SLB Kevin Burnett -- Coming off a career-best season in Miami, essentially trades places with Philip Wheeler.

Secondary
CB Tracy Porter -- Instantly upgrades secondary, even if he's coming off subpar year.
CB Phillip Adams -- Can he avoid concussions?
FS Brandian Ross -- Exclusive-rights free agent making the move to cover for loss of Michael Huff?
SS Tyvon Branch -- Has to be looking around wondering, who are these guys?

SPECIAL TEAMS
LS Jon Condo -- Commitment to Excellence Award winner still one of best in the long-snapping biz.
PK Sebastian Janikowski -- How will departure of longtime running mate Shane Lechler affect him?
P Marquette King -- The punting king (Lechler) is gone; long live Marquette King. Or somesuch.
H Terrelle Pryor -- Another hole opened by departure of Lechler, but Pryor holding could set up more fake kicks, yes?
KR/PR Jacoby Ford -- He has something to prove to the new regime.