The Raiders have spent months evaluating their talent crop, from the offseason program to training camp to the preseason. There’s plenty to consider as they head for the regular season, but now is the time to make some tough cuts. The Raiders must trim the roster to 53 players by Saturday afternoon, casting more players off after months of hard work.
We’ll try to make the Raiders cuts for them. Thursday night’s preseason game offered one last look at the group, and caused some adjustments to be made from our original projection. Check out the latest projection below.
As always, we invite comments and suggestions, but that comes with a reminder. If you say someone should be added, you must suggest a corresponding release.
Here we go: CSN Bay Area’s 53-man roster projection, Version 2.0:
Behind the selection: Brice Butler has been too strong to get cut. Denarius Moore moved back off the bubble. Little gets whacked after a lackluster slate of preseason games.
[RELATED: Raiders make roster moves, trim to 75]
Offensive tackles (3)
Behind the selection: Barnes is a true swing player, as we saw Thursday night when he moved to tackle (his old spot) after playing all of camp at left guard.
Behind the selection: This versatile group is a team strength. But if guards switch outside, they need backups on the interior. That’s where Boothe (backup guard and center) and Bergstrom come in, though Reggie McKenzie’s first draft pick makes it in a photo finish.
Behind the selection: If Wisniewski plays every snap, the Raiders will be happy. Boothe can back him up.
Tight end (3)
Behind the selection: The Raiders are thin here. A waiver claim might strengthen this group later on.
Behind the selection: This isn’t a depth chart. That would be more difficult to predict.
Running backs (3)
Behind the selection: Reece allows them to keep three running backs. As we saw Thursday night, Murray adds real depth here, and can return kicks. . Jeremy Stewart was an extremely, extremely tough cut.
Behind the selection: Can’t live without these two.
Defensive end (4)
Behind the selection: Crawford was on the first projection. He isn’t on the second. They need depth elsewhere. He wasn’t dynamic enough.
Defensive tackles (4)
Behind the selection: A strong group with significant size. Smith can be an X factor in the pass rush.
Outside linebacker (5)
Behind the selection: Burnett has a spot locked up. Didn’t even play Thursday night and that’s the case.
Middle linebacker (1)
Behind the selection: The Raiders should send Roach (concussion) a “Get Well Soon” card. And some flowers. They can’t afford to have him out.
[RELATED: Raiders examining options at cornerback]
Behind the selection: Lots of buzz around Neiko Thorpe in recent weeks, but he only has a roster spot in the short term. Keeping seven cornerbs over the long haul doesn’t make much sense, and he didn’t put a strangehold on the No. 3 cornerback spot, which will revert back to Chekwa soon enough. The Raiders will stick with their draft picks after Chekwa comes back, or if a quality tight end becomes available
Behind the selection: Ross makes the final cut by a slim margin. Ross makes the final cut by a slim margin. The Raiders really like seventh-round pick Jonathan Dowling and think he has a bright future, but they keep their fingers crossed and hope he makes it to the practice squad.
K Sebastian Janikowski
LS Jon Condo
P Marquette King
Behind the selection: Seabass is gonna be fine for the regular season. No need to hedge bets with an extra kicker.
Now on to the practice squad, which should be announced on Sunday. This list only applies to players currently on the Raiders roster, and assumes no one else makes a waiver claim on these gents. Don't forget that practice squads are diverse, with players who can help in all areas of the scout team. That also gives a team an immediate backup plan should just about anyone position group thin out. The Raiders could also sign players from other teams (again, with strong likelihood) There are 10 spots available. Here’s who gets ‘em:
Raiders practice squad
RB George Atkinson III
LB Justin Cole
WR Seth Roberts
TE Jake Murphy
OL Dan Kistler
S Jonathan Dowling
CB Chance Casey
LB Bojay Filimoeatu
OG Lamar Mady
DL Denico Autry