Gutierrez: Raiders 53-man roster analysis

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Gutierrez: Raiders 53-man roster analysis

Sept. 7, 2011

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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

Quarterbacks
6 Terrelle Pryor 6-6, 230 Ohio State Rookie Third-round supplemental draft pick can keep his nose clean by keeping it in playbook during five-game suspension, unless he wins appeal 7 Kyle Boller 6-3, 220 California 9th yr. Beat out Trent Edwards for No. 2 QB in one of most intriguing camp battles 8 Jason Campbell 6-5, 230 Auburn 7th yr. As unquestioned starter, more comfortable and confident than he was last seasonRunning backs
20 Darren McFadden 6-2, 210 Arkansas 4th yr. Run DMC looking to build on last year's breakthrough season22 Taiwan Jones 6-0, 195 Eastern Washington Rookie Called "probably the fastest man I've ever seen" by safety Michael Huff
25 Rock Cartwright 5-8, 215 Kansas State 10th yr. Soothing locker room presence and special teams ace29 Michael Bush 6-1, 245 Louisville 4th yr. Loves to bring the thunder to McFadden's lightning45 Marcel Reece 6-3, 240 Washington 4th yr. Stats may not mean much to fullbacks, but they should with the hybrid talents he bringsTight ends
82 Richard Gordon 6-4, 265 Miami Rookie A somewhat surprising add to roster, he seemed destined to practice squad83 Brandon Myers 6-4, 250 Iowa 3rd yr. Quality special teams player who must improve his pass-catching skills86 David Ausberry 6-4, 245 USC Rookie Former WR had prettiest TD catch of the preseason with his foot-drag-in-the-end-zone special87 Kevin Boss 6-6, 255 Western Oregon 5th yr. Counted on to fill Zach Miller's shoes, has been down since spraining left knee in second exhibitionWide receivers
12 Jacoby Ford 5-9, 185 Clemson 2nd yr. A highlight game for the ages against Kansas City has set the bar awfully high17 Denarius Moore 6-0, 195 Tennessee Rookie Again, how did this guy, who made a highlight reel catch seemingly every other day in camp, slip to fifth round?18 Louis Murphy 6-2, 200 Florida 3rd yr. Productive rough-around-the-edges pass catcher still recovering from what sounds like sports hernia procedure in camp80 Derek Hagan 6-2, 215 Arizona State 6th yr. A sure-handed veteran presence who gives receiving corps a missing element81 Chaz Schilens 6-4, 225 San Diego State 4th yr. Fans growing weary of his teasing skills but injury-prone ways85 Darrius Heyward-Bey 6-2, 210 Maryland 3rd yr. Is the third year the charm for the much-maligned former No. 7 overall pick?89 Nick Miller 5-9, 180 Southern Utah 3rd yr. Hanging on by fingertips as team's most experienced punt returnerOffensive line
61 Stephen Wisniewski 6-3, 315 Penn State Rookie Li'l Wiz entered camp as starting center, enters season as starting left guard64 Samson Satele 6-3, 300 Hawaii 5th yr. Center has a certain air of confidence surrounding him now66 Cooper Carlisle 6-5, 295 Florida 12th yr. Written off by several observers, all the right guard does is keep his position68 Jared Veldheer 6-8, 315 Hillsdale 2nd yr. Growing into his own while blocking the QB's blind side at left tackle69 Khalif Barnes 6-5, 325 Washington 7th yr. Locker room cutup has won the right tackle gig, but for how long?72 Joe Barksdale 6-4, 325 LSU Rookie Champing at the bit to assume right tackle from Barnes74 Bruce Campbell 6-6, 315 Maryland 2nd yr. The physical specimen missed the first few weeks of camp with a right knee injury but right guard is maturing quickly75 Stephon Heyer 6-6, 330 Maryland 5th yr. Can play any position on line, save center, and is one of most thoughtful quotes, tooDefensive line
77 Matt Shaughnessy 6-5, 270 Wisconsin 3rd yr. How close if he to being an elite defensive end in the league? Thisclose79 John Henderson 6-7, 335 Tennessee 10th yr. Mammoth run-stopping specialist DT needs to pick his spots as he has a lead of mileage on his tires90 Desmond Bryant 6-5, 290 Harvard 3rd yr. Defensive tackle has a cool fury about him that belies his Ivy League background91 Trevor Scott 6-5, 255 Buffalo 4th yr. Has looked impressive back down on the line at DE after a stint at LB and blowing out a knee last season92 Richard Seymour 6-6, 310 Georgia 11th yr. The spiritual leader of the locker room is probably on his way to Canton, but the DT to stay healthy in Oakland first93 Tommy Kelly 6-6, 300 Mississippi State 8th yr. Suddenly, the DT kept silent by Warren Sapp and Ted Washington is best quote on team, and motivated force on field94 Jarvis Moss 6-7, 260 Florida 5th yr. Mossology on Twitter isn't always politically correct, but neither is his mood heading to Denver, his previous employer99 Lamarr Houston 6-3, 305 Texas 2nd yr. A lot more is expected out of the defensive end in terms of sacks and making playsLinebackers
52 Quentin Groves 6-3, 265 Auburn 4th yr. It only seems as though he played the entire preseason as Raiders don't seem completely sold on him at WLB55 Rolando McClain 6-3, 255 Alabama 2nd yr. MLB started camp with a renewed purpose that needs to be re-lit from within entering the season56 Darryl Blackstock 6-3, 245 Virginia 5th yr. A UFL feel-good story who talks of his long-standing affinity for the Raiders and his Silver and Black Starter jacket57 Ricky Brown 6-2, 235 Boston College 6th yr. Dependable backup MLB who just re-joined the team after spending camp with New England58 Bruce Davis II 6-3, 250 UCLA 3rd yr. High-motor legacy player -- pops won a pair of rings with the Raiders -- who sees most of his time on special teams96 Kamerion Wimbley 6-4, 255 Florida State 6th yr. Leading sack artist from a year ago with nine due a guaranteed 29 million after agreeing to long-term dealCornerbacks
23 DeMarcus Van Dyke 6-1, 180 Miami Rookie Third-round draft choice should only learn and get better from his preseason baptism by fire, right?26 Stanford Routt 6-1, 195 Houston 7th yr. Ready or not, Routt becomes The Man in the Secondary with Nnamdi Asomugha gone28 Joe Porter 5-10, 205 Rutgers 2nd yr. Did just enough in the preseason to warrant his sticking, though could be one of first on chopping block35 Chimdi Chekwa 6-0, 190 Ohio State Rookie Separated a shoulder on first day of padded hitting in camp and has been playing catch-up ever since37 Chris Johnson 6-1, 200 Louisville 8th yr. Had what he called an "oil change" in camp and says his body has never felt betterSafeties
24 Michael Huff 6-1, 205 Texas 6th yr. A cool confidence has enveloped the second-team All Pro, meaning somebody voted for him over either Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu27 Matt Giordano 5-11, 210 California 7th yr. Grizzled vet can show off his Super Bowl ring with Colts after being re-signed this week to add depth30 Jerome Boyd 6-2, 225 Oregon 2nd yr. Another feel-good camp story, former practice squader can slide down to linebacker in big nickel defense33 Tyvon Branch 6-0, 205 Connecticut 4th yr. Known more for his hitting and tackling than his suspect coverage skills, says he's improved in all areas34 Mike Mitchell 6-1, 220 Ohio 3rd yr. Fan favorite missed most of camp with mysterious injury to left leg but insists he'll answer the bellPunter
9 Shane Lechler 6-1, 225 Texas A&M 12th yr. Best in the business at what he does, but is he still ticked Tom Cable got axed?Placekicker
11 Sebastian Janikowski 6-2, 250 Florida State 12th yr. Training regimen has him looking more like MMA fighter than paunchy placekicker; he'll break longest-FG recordLongsnapper
59 Jon Condo 6-3, 250 Maryland 6th yr. Former Pro Bowler more than Alcide from "True Blood" lookalike; also security blanket for Lechler and SeaBass

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley’s name has been sullied, at least temporarily. He feared it would be long enough to send him free falling down the NFL Draft.

The Ohio State cornerback and top-15 prospect was accused of rape stemming from an April 9 incident in Cleveland, an allegation he called “completely false.”

The Raiders clearly believe him. That’s why they drafted him No. 24 overall on Thursday evening, and expect him to be a long-term solution in their secondary.

Conley wasn’t sure how far he’d fall after being beaten down by one rough week, when the allegation went public. Reggie McKenzie’s first-round selection and subsequent call was more emotional than expected.

“It made it 10 times more special,” Conley said Thursday night in a conference call. “Just having that doubt in my mind, just not knowing (how far I would fall). Just having faith and having doubt, I didn’t know what was going to happen. When it came, it shocked me. It felt unreal, honestly. It still feels unreal.”

Being a top pick was expected after an excellent career at Ohio State. The rape accusation threatened to destroy his draft-day dreams. Conley has not been arrested or charged in relation to the incident, though an investigation is ongoing.

Conley said he volunteered to take a polygraph test that was shared with NFL teams, and reportedly passed the one he took. He said in a statement there are witnesses and video evidence proving he didn’t do anything illegal.

Conley spent the last few days trying to proclaim his innocence. 

He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police on Monday to discuss the April 9 incident -- he'll also submit a DNA sample, according to ESPN -- where group sex was suggested and a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted.

Conley believes his name will be cleared in time.

“I’m very confident it will be resolved," Conley said. "I took a test today that helps. Then when I made my statement and all the evidence that I have, I feel confident it’ll be resolved.”

Conley admits he shouldn’t have put himself in a compromising position, which occurred at a Cleveland hotel earlier this month.

“I could’ve made way better judgment,” Conley said. “I mean, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I definitely could’ve made a better decision.”

Conley hopes to move beyond it quickly and start focusing on football. He is scheduled to fly west for a press conference on Friday.

Conley is thankful to the Raiders for believing in him despite his recent troubles.

“It’s off the charts, honestly,” Conley said. “Just to know that they have faith in me, not even just as a football player but as a person like that, it speaks highly of them, and I really appreciate it. It’s an honor to be a part of the Raider organization.”

McKenzie: Raiders did their 'due diligence' before drafting Gareon Conley

McKenzie: Raiders did their 'due diligence' before drafting Gareon Conley

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders used the No. 24 overall pick on Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley. This wasn’t a second-round flier or a late-round gamble.

That’s a first-round pick. Rolling the dice this early is ill advised. The Raiders don't believe they did with a selection accompanied by a $5.78 million signing bonus, $10.5 million in total money and a valuable fifth-year option to keep a player in town.

They wouldn’t risk such an asset on someone in serious legal trouble. The Raiders did significant research on Conley, who was accused of rape earlier this week, before making a selection. Results gave the Raiders confidence in their choice. 

Conley has not been arrested or charged over an allegation that stems from an April 9 interaction in a Cleveland hotel.

Conley said the accusations are “completely false,” in a statement released by his agent. He claims to have witnesses and video evidence that he didn’t do anything illegal during an exchange where group sex was suggested. He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police about the allegation and an investigation into it on Monday.

Conley said he took and passed polygraph test prior to the draft, hoping to avoid a free fall into the draft’s later rounds.

The Raiders clearly believe him. They wouldn’t have used such a high pick on the Ohio State cornerback otherwise. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said the team thoroughly investigated the matter, and felt comfortable using a high pick on someone who sat alone atop their draft board at No. 24 overall.

“We did our due diligence throughout this whole process,” McKenzie said Thursday night, after making the Conley pick. “We trust our research, reports, everything that we have on Mr. Conley. We feel really good about picking Gareon Conley and having him join the Raiders team and having him be a great teammate for our players.”

McKenzie didn’t detail the Raiders research efforts, but didn’t seem concerned about this off-field issue.

“I don’t want to get into all the details,” McKenzie said, “but the bottom line is that we’ve done miles and miles of research to make sure we were totally comfortable with our decision, which we were.”

McKenzie said he spoke with owner Mark Davis about Conley, as he does most first-round options.

The Raiders were impressed by Conley’s workouts and his game tape. The rape accusation obviously gave the NFL pause regarding his draft status, and he slipped somewhat in the first round.

The Raiders are confident following an internal investigation that his legal troubles will pass without incident.

“The research was done,” McKenzie said. "It wasn’t just a gut (feeling). It was based on research, and we’re very confident in all the information that we got.”