The Raiders broke OTA’s with 87 players on the roster and NFL rules mandate that each team can only head into training camp with 80 players. Most of us know of the three cuts that came down last Tuesday. For those who have been in a cave, are just waking up from a coma, or whose lives don’t revolve around the Raiders (such as mine) those players were newly acquired FA safety Keith Davis, 09 sixth round pick defensive end Stryker Sulak, and UDFA middle linebacker Frantz Joseph.
The Raiders report to training camp on July 28 so that gives the team about a week to make four more cuts. It can be near impossible to predict what the Raiders will do when it comes to cuts but I am going to attempt it anyway.
These are the players that are on the proverbial bubble and are most likely to get an unpleasant phone call and cleaning out their lockers prior to the opening of training camp.
DE Greyson Gunheim- The Raiders already waived sixth round pick DE Stryker Sulak because this team had too many DE. But there are still quite a few defensive ends on the squad so, if they feel the need to cut down even more, Gunheim could be the next to go.
FB Luke Lawton- He was cut in training camp last season but was re-signed after the injury to Oren O’Neal. With the addition of Lorenzo Neal and another season of practice for hopefull Marcel Reece, Lawton may not even make it to training camp.
QB Bruce Gradkowski- This team is carrying six quarterbacks right now. One of them has got to go. Gradkowski has looked horrible in camp. So bad that the team signed free agent QB Charlie Frye. Andrew Walter will not be a Raider this season but he will not be sent away without at least an attempt at compensation via trade. Danny Southwick will stick around with the intent of gaining a spot on the practice squad.
T James Marten- The Raiders are carrying seven tackles right now so one could be cut before camp. The only other tackle on this team that has not really proven his worth is Mark Wilson. But if all things are equal, Wilson went to Cal so Marten is most likely to go.
WR Jonathan Holland, Will Franklin, Samie Parker, Shawn Bayes, Nick Miller- Every team needs a good amount of receivers so that all of the quarterbacks have someone to throw to. Which means that if you remove a QB (Gradkowski) you can certainly stand to remove a receiver or two. None of these five guys should feel too safe in regards to being on the Raiders roster come camp. Holland was a seventh round pick in last year’s draft who is hoping to continue to hang around. Franklin was a ‘08 fourth round pick by the Chiefs who was cut last month after a cup of coffee with the Lions. Parker is a speedster who had high hopes placed on him that never quite materialized during four seasons with the Chiefs. Bayes and Miller are UDFA that both impressed coaches enough in mini camps and OTA’s to make their decision a difficult one.
Other more surprising possibilities include:
C Chris Morris, John Wade- It is a simple matter of who wins the right to stick around another month or so. Is it the veteran savvy of Wade or the youth and potential of Morris that wins out?
CB John Bowie, Darrick Brown, Jason Horton- Bowie has been hurt nearly his entire career and is only still here because he was the player taken with the fourth round pick in the unmentionable cancer receiver trade. Brown and Horton are looking to hang on to the bottom of the depth chart. One of them may not be here in a week.
DT William Joseph- He was cut last offseason and re-signed because there was no depth at defensive tackle. With a couple new faces, and healthy older ones, Joseph may not even make it that far.
G Jonathan Compas- UDFA who is a long shot to make the team due to the large number of guards and tackles on the team that also play guard.
TE Darrell Strong, John Paul Foschi- There could be one too many tight ends heading into camp. One of these two could be the odd man out. Tough decision. But aren’t they all?
WR Arman Shields- Can’t stay healthy and will have had to prove he is worth a longer look in his limited work with the team. He will likely at least be given a shot in training camp.