Breaking down Raiders roster possibilities

Breaking down Raiders roster possibilities
May 10, 2013, 7:45 am
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Ont thing we do know: Matt Flynn was brought in to be the Raiders' starting quarterback. (AP)  

The Raiders' 10 draft picks, 14 undrafted free agent rookie signings and eligible first-year players (players who have not been on the 53-man active roster or reserve list for more than six games) begin a three-day rookie camp at the team's Alameda facility today and every draft pick is still expected to participate.

While there, players are allowed to take part in on-field drills, meetings and film study and there will be media availability on Saturday.

Oakland currently has 86 players on its 90-man offseason roster. What better time, then, to throw some "odds" at each player's chances -- in May, of course -- of making the final 53-man roster come September?

Quarterbacks

Locks: Matt Flynn, Tyler Wilson

Looking good: Terrelle Pryor

Must impress: Kyle Padron
Notes: The gig is Flynn's to lose, plain and simple. Then again, he did lose it in Seattle last year to a drafted rookie with the last name of Wilson. Pryor fans, meanwhile, are beside themselves. It will only make Pryor work that much harder…unless it does not.

Running backs

Locks: Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece, Rashad Jennings, Latavius Murray

50-50: Jeremy Stewart, Jamize Olawale

Must impress: Deonte Williams, Jon Hoese
Notes: New OC Greg Olson figures to build the offense around McFadden, who has yet to play a full season and is entering the final season of his contract. I contemplated putting Jennings in the 'Looking good' category, but if/when McFadden goes down to injury again, the Raiders are going to need someone with some NFL track record to run the ball. Murray, meanwhile, is intriguing as all get out with a running style that mirrors McFadden.

Wide receivers

Locks: Denarius Moore, Rod Streater, Juron Criner
Looking good: Jacoby Ford, Brice Butler

50-50: Conner Vernon, Travionte Session

Must impress: Sam McGuffie, Isaiah Williams
Notes: No doubt the Raiders need a proven No. 1, and Streater, the undrafted rookie free agent of a year ago, might very well be on his way to becoming the top possession guy. So why isn't Ford a 'Lock?' He has not played a regular season game yet for this new regime, is coming off foot surgery and the Raiders' flirtations with Josh Cribbs should tell you something. Plus, Vernon has a legit shot at making the squad as a slot guy.

Tight ends

Locks: David Ausberry, Richard Gordon, Mychal Rivera

Looking good: Nick Kasa
50-50: Mickey Shuler

Must impress: Brian Leonhardt

Notes: There's a reason the Raiders drafted two tight ends in Kasa and Rivera. But Rivera might already be the best pass catching pure tight end in the group.

Offensive linemen

Locks: Jared Veldheer, Stefen Wisniewski, Tony Bergstrom, Menelik Watson

Looking good: Alex Parsons, Mike Brisiel, Lucas Nix, Khalif Barnes

50-50: Alex Barron, Willie Smith
Must impress: Jason Foster, Lamar Mady, Deveric Gallington, John Wetzel
Notes: The Raiders are scrapping the zone-blocking scheme and returning to a more power-based system, which would seemingly put Brisiel and Bergstrom on notice, right?

Defensive linemen

Locks: Lamarr Houston, Vance Walker, Pat Sims, Jason Hunter, Andre Carter, Christo Bilukidi, David Bass

Looking good: Jack Crawford, Stacy McGee

Must impress: Kurt Taufa'asau, Johnny Jones, Brandon Bair
Notes: Still trying to figure where the Raiders are going to get a consistent pass rush since Carter is a situational player and Bass played against inferior talent in college. Maybe we swap Hunter and Crawford?

Linebackers

Locks: Miles Burris, Nick Roach, Kevin Burnett, Sio Moore, Kaluka Maiava

Looking good: Keenan Clayton, Kaelin Burnett

50-50: Travis Goethel

Must impress: Jerrell Harris, Mario Kurn, Billy Boyko
Notes: The personnel here suggests a 3-4 alignment, so where does the perpetually injured Goethel fit? Whoever can excel on special teams will make the 53-man roster here. But like mentioned above, who provides the pass rush? It's a lot to ask of a rookie in Moore, no?

Cornerbacks

Locks: D.J. Hayden, Tracy Porter, Mike Jenkins, Brandian Ross

Looking good: Phillip Adams, Joselio Hanson
50-50: Chimdi Chekwa, Coye Francies

Must impress: Taiwan Jones, Cory Nelms, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Adrian Bushell
Notes: Hayden is the future of the secondary after being the Raiders' top draft choice, and Porter and Jenkins have corner experience. Hanson can play the slot and Ross could make the switch to safety. Jones, though, might be the most intriguing, having made the switch from running back.

Safeties

Locks: Tyvon Branch, Usama Young

Looking good: Reggie Smith

Must impress: Shelton Johnson
Notes: They're still thin at safety, which makes Charles Woodson lowering his standards and saying he'd now play for a non-contender all the more intriguing. Would they? Should they? Or does Brandian Ross, who played with C-Wood in Green Bay, make the switch from corner to free safety for more depth?

Specialists

Locks: K Sebastian Janikowski, P Marquette King, LS Jon Condo

50-50: K Eddy Carmona
Must impress: P Bobby Cowan, LS Adam Steiner
Note: A new era, so to speak, with Shane Lechler about to start punting in Houston. Janikowski and Condo are at the top of their respective totem poles when it comes to their positions, but keep this in mind -- the Raiders could save $5.2 million in salary cap space, $5 million in base salary, by cutting those two in the rebuild. And Carmona was impressive last summer. Heresy?

Totals

Locks: 37
Looking good: 15

50-50: 11

Must impress: 23