Predicting the 53-Man Roster

Last season, I predicted 48 of the Raiders 53-man roster correctly. Jerry McDonald also missed five. Paul Guiterrez and David White missed six.

It seems that the roster is much harder to predict going into 2010.

There are various positions that could go one of many directions unexpectedly.

Without further ado, my 2010 roster prediction.

Quarterbacks (3)
Jason Campbell
Bruce Gradkowki
Kyle Boller

Analysis: This is a pretty straight forward group. Colt Brennan will try to catch on elsewhere or he may also stick on the practice squad.

Backs: (5*)
Darren McFadden
Michael Bush
Michael Bennett
Rock Cartwright
Marcel Reece
Luke Lawton*

Analysis: Cartwright is versatile and can play special teams. The Raiders keep Bennett around because of the health of Bush. McFadden’s injury history suggests the Raiders keep Bennett. Reece is the fullback. Tonga is likely headed to the practice squad. Lawton doesn’t count against the roster until he serves his two week suspension. The Raiders will decide his fate after week two.

Receivers (8)
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Chaz Schilens
Louis Murphy
Johnnie Lee-Higgins
Jacoby Ford
Nick Miller
Zach Miller
Brandon Myers

Analysis: Raiders carried Nick Miller on the active roster for 16 games while injured. Higgins has regained some of his form from two years ago. Myers over Owens actually was a tough call. I went with Myers. The Raiders really liked him in the past and are likely hoping his recent struggles were just a bump in the road.

Offensive Line (10)
Mario Henderson
Robert Gallery
Jared Veldheer
Cooper Carlisle
Langston Walker
Khalif Barnes
Bruce Campbell
Erik Pears
Chris Morris
Daniel Loper

Analysis: This may have been the hardest single grouping to predict. Barnes, Pears, Morris could be cut and it wouldn’t be a surprise. I struggled with cutting Satele. Veldheer is the new center and Morris is a better backup due to versatility. Pears was needed for tackle depth and could be the heavy set tight end.

Defensive Line (7)
Richard Seymour
Matt Shaughnessy
Lamarr Houston
Tommy Kelly
Desmond Bryant
John Henderson
Jay Richardson

Analysis: Jay Richardson is the only backup end in the group. This is because Seymour could slide outside and Trevor Scott and Kamerion Wimbley could be nickel rushers. John Henderson could be cut, but I have a feeling the Raiders like the idea of keeping the big men fresh to stop the run.

Linebackers (7)
Rolando McClain
Trevor Scott
Kamerion Wimbley
Quentin Groves
Ricky Brown
Travis Goethel
Thomas Howard

Analysis: Three of the seven could put their hand in the dirt and play defensive end. Sam Williams loses his spot to Goethel. Thomas Howard sticks for now and hopefully can be counted on as a coverage linebacker. I could see any of Groves, Howard, or Brown being cut here, but I just don’t see a better player available.

Cornerbacks (5)
Nnamdi Asomugha
Stanford Routt
Chris Johnson
Jeremy Ware
Walter McFadden

Analysis: Ware really impressed this preseason. Johnson didn’t. With so few quality players the Raiders just keep the best ones they can. Walter McFadden’s injury is a concern here, but he still makes the roster provided the injury doesn’t send him to injured reserve.

Safeties (5)
Tyvon Branch
Michael Mitchell
Michael Huff
Stevie Brown
Hiram Eugene

Analysis: Yes, five safeties. It was hard to justify, but here is how I did it: Eugene is a special teams player. He played some corner also. The Raiders lack depth at corner and like to bring their safeties into the box risking more injury. Stevie Brown would be hard to hide on the practice squad with his preseason performance. Huff is relatively cheap now, years after signing his rookie deal most of the money has already been paid.

Special Teams (3)
Shane Lechler
Sebastian Janikowski
Jon Condo

Analysis: Might be the best at what they do in the entire league. All on the same team. The bright spot of the last seven seasons.

Practice Squad Potentials:
Jerome Boyd
Shaun Bodiford
David Nixon
Slade Norris
Kellen Heard
Alex Daniels
Manase Tonga
Colt Brennan

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