The subject these days has been about cutting down the roster for camp. And after camp starts, it will be no time before the first round of cuts happen in preseason, which will be closely followed by the final round of cuts. This Raider roster has to go from the 84 current players on the roster, down to 53 in just over a month.
We all tend to grow attached to the players this team acquires and drafts and foresee infinite possibilities to their potential. We struggle with seeing those players as well as the current players get waived and cut as if to say “Can’t we keep them all?” To which, unfortunately, the answer is “No.” Tough decisions have to be made, whether it be cap casualties at the end of the season, a need for a roster spot at another position, or simply a misjudgement of talent.
This got me thinking of a few cases in which that decision was probably not the correct one. And the Raiders as well as the Raider Nation were forced to watch a great player leave or a player reach his greatness with another team.
Here is the short list of players that top the list of those that got away.
DT La’Roi Glover
Was drafted by the Raiders in the fifth round in 1996. He Appeared in 2 games in his rookie season and wasn’t even given enough plays to record a single statistic. He was released by the team the following offseason. At which point the Saints swiped him up immediately. In just his second season in New Orleans, he started 15 games and recorded 10 sacks. He retired last month after a stellar 13 year career that saw him tally 83 sacks over 11 seasons with the Saints, Cowboys and Rams. His best season was in 2000 in which he had 17 sacks en route to a pro bowl bid.
DT Grady Jackson
Was drafted in the late sixth round out of small school Knoxville College. It took him until his fourth season in Oakland to break into the starting lineup but once he did, he was a middle clogging, run stopping, quarterback sacking force. He had eight sacks in 2000 which is saying a lot considering just how large a man he was (and is). He is listed at 345 and that is generous. Then in 2001 he had 69 tackles and looked like he would be a force in the middle for a long time. But that ended up being his last year in Oakland. He became a free agent and the Saints swooped in again to nab yet another great Raider defensive tackle. It is no wonder that this is the area where the Raiders have struggled the most over past several years.
CB Tory James
Only played three seasons of a five year contract with the Raiders which was surprising considering he combined for nine interceptions in the final two. Then he was released and signed with Cincinnati where he proceeded to have four great seasons in which he started every game and averaged over five interceptions a season.
QB Steve Beuerlein
Originally from Hollywood California, he was drafted by his then hometown Los Angeles Raiders in the fourth round of the 1987 draft. He was injured in the preseason and spent the entire season on the injured list. After that he spent just two seasons for the Raiders before he was let go. Then a year later the Raiders took USC QB Todd Marinovich in the first round of the ‘91 draft- which was a complete disaster that saw Marinovich toke his way out of the NFL after just two seasons. Meanwhile, Beuerlein was starting for the Arizona Cardinals. After a successful stint with them, he became the very first selection in the 1995 NFL Expansion Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and was the starting quarterback for the first game in team history. He later went on to the Carolina Panthers where he holds many team passing records. These include single-season records for passing yards (4,436), touchdowns (36), attempts (571), and completions (343). He held every career Panther passing record until they were just recently broken by Jake Delhomme.
Beuerlein’s 36 touchdown passes in 1999 remain the eighth highest single-season total in league history. And while he was putting together some nice seasons in Arizona and Carolina, the Raiders struggled with nine different starting quarterbacks. That murderers row consisted of Marinovich, Jay Schroeder, Jeff Hostetler, Billy Joe Hobert, Vince Evans, Jeff George, Donald Hollas, and Wade Wilson before they finally acquired Rich Gannon in 99.