With the Raiders off, today, I am posting my updated list of who I think are the most likely players to make the final roster. There will be positional analysis below each section
Players in bold are the ones I am projecting to make the final roster. Players in italics are tabbed for addition to the practice squad:
Analysis: There should not be any real surprises, here. If you’re surprised by any of the names, above, you haven’t been paying attention. Schaub has been the best QB in camp, as he should be. Carr has promise and has been erratic but he’s being developed as the future franchise QB he was drafted to be. McGloin will likely see a lot of inactive game days in 2014, as the 3rd-string QB.
Analysis: I went back and forth in my head about Olawale and I’m not convinced I came down with the right answer. In this scenario, Olawale makes the team because of his versatility and his special teams contributions.
Running Back: 3
George Atkinson (practice squad)
Analysis: Like Olawale, I had a hard time deciding whether to put Kory Sheets on the final roster or not. In this case, I decided that Olawale’s special teams abilities made him more valuable to the Raiders than a 4th string running back with good receiving skills. Jones-Drew is in line for a comeback and McFadden is looking as good as he always does in training camp. Murray was drafted to be the future at running back and he looks strong and confident this year. I like Sheets but he’s 29 and on the downside of his career.
In this scenario, I have George Atkinson being tabbed for the practice squad.
Wide Receiver: 6
Seth Roberts (practice squad)
Analysis: I have the Raiders going with 6 wide receivers this year. They actually have some talent, here, although their corps lacks a true star. James Jones is shaping up to be their best receiver, by far, with a strong camp. Rod Streater should be a solid number two.
Greg Little looks to be better than I expected, at least, with an ability to win jump balls and make acrobatic catches – he does still drop more balls than he should but his upside makes him worth it.
Denarius Moore and Andre Holmes are neither standing out in camp, thus far, but both have solid experience and I think will make the team. Brice Butler looks smooth and is still learning the position.
I have undrafted free agent Seth Roberts tabbed for the practice squad, here, because he has shown very good hands throughout the first 4 practices – the beat writers in attendance cannot recall a single drop from the unheralded rookie out of Division II West Alabama.
Tight End: 3
I only have the Raiders keeping 3 tight ends because they have better talent at other positions and because they have shown they like to use offensive tackles as blocking tight ends, anyway. Ausberry has been running with the first team since OTAs and looks to be the favorite to start. Mychal Rivera is ideal as a second string, flex tight end in passing downs.
I have Leonhardt over Kasa because Kasa cannot stay healthy – he has missed both OTAs and training camp, thus far, after missing much of training camp last year. Kasa came into the league as a project and he’s missing the most valuable reps he can get in the off-season. He has a lot of ground to make up.
Offensive Line: 8
Erle Ladson (practice squad)
Analysis: The first five names are the starting lineup, as of now, and barring injury all five should make the team. Gabe Jackson was the teams’ 3rd round pick and could work his way into the starting lineup, replacing Barnes.
Kevin Boothe will be the main backup to Wisniewski and can also play guard. Matt McCants was a surprise last year, but is a good option as a backup swing tackle. He also can play as a blocking tight end.
At this time, I have Erle Ladson tabbed for the practice squad based on some solid practices he’s been able to put together.
Total offensive players: 25
Analysis: I have 3 players tabbed for special teams work, only (Janikowski, King, Condo). With the squad as outlined, the offense would have 25 players – exactly half of the remaining 50 spots on the team.