Cut day is nearly upon us. NFL rosters are trimmed to 53 on Saturday afternoon, casting a final touch on a long preseason. Players can do no more to save their skin. They can only hope they put their best foot forward over the past five weeks.
After observing an entire body of work that included four preseason games and open practices aplenty, we’ll take one last shot at projecting the Raiders 53-man roster.
The first version debuted before the third preseason game. There were some mistakes, some grave omissions and some risky picks.
When it comes down to it, this is for fun. Nobody really knows what head coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie will do with the roster. Odds are it’ll be amended shortly after it’s trimmed, when players hit the street after being cut by other teams.
Again, let us know whom you think should be added/subtracted, but include a corresponding move.
Here’s the second projected 53-man roster:
WR (5) – Denarius Moore, Brice Butler, Jacoby Ford, Rod Streater, Juron Criner (shown, right).
Note: Criner makes a team without a better option at No. 5.
OT (4) – Jared Veldheer, Alex Barron, Khalif Barnes, Menelik Watson
Note: Raiders will sign someone else once after final cut if they formally place Veldheer on injured reserve/designated to return list as expected. That player isn’t a Raider yet.
[RELATED: Watson makes strong debut at LT for Raiders]
G (3) – Tony Bergstrom, Lucas Nix, Mike Brisiel
Note: Not sure Brisiel deserves a spot, but he’s got one, as a reserve. Nix starts at right guard.
C (2) – Stefen Wisniewski, Andre Gurode
Note: Gurode can be a swing guard or center.
TE (4) – Jeron Mastrud, David Ausberry, Mychal Rivera, Nick Kasa
Note: Mastrud has his spot secured, at Gordon’s expense. Rivera is a lock now, so much so that he was held out of Thursday’s game. Carrying four tight ends is nuts, but the Raiders won’t expose Kasa to waivers. Too much upside.
QB (3) – Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor, Tyler Wilson
Note: Wilson gets the nod with draft status. Said so last week and I’m sticking with it. Matt McGloin wasn’t that much better this preseason.
RB (3) – Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings, Jeremy Stewart
Note: Stewart secured a spot after Murray was placed on injured reserve.
FB (2) – Marcel Reece, Jamize Olawale
Note: Few fans agreed with Olawale, and maybe they're right. Raiders rarely keep two fullbacks. I think he’s a valuable addition on special teams.
DE (5) – Lamarr Houston, Andre Carter, Jason Hunter, Jack Crawford, David Bass (shown, below).
Note: Bass secured his roster spot on Thursday night. Valued member of this draft class.
DT (4) – Vance Walker, Pat Sims, Christo Bilukidi, Stacy McGee
Note: Tough choice between McGee and Kurt Taufa’asau. Sticking with McGee, my original pick.
OLB (4) – Kevin Burnett, Sio Moore, Kaluka Maiava, Kaelin Burnett
Note: Maiava earned a spot that was never really in jeopardy. If the Raiders had more depth, or Chase Thomas had more time in Oakland, Kaelin Burnett’s spot would be.
MLB (2) – Nick Roach, Omar Gaither
Note: Easy picks. Gaither has been solid, making it easier to wait for Miles Burris.
[NEWS: Raiders Pulse]
CB (5) – Tracy Porter, Mike Jenkins, D.J. Hayden, Phillip Adams, Taiwan Jones
Note: The Raiders can go with five corners because Brandian Ross can play both spots. Versatility helps here.
S (4) – Charles Woodson, Tyvon Branch, Usama Young, Brandian Ross
Note: I erred keeping Ross off the roster. Won’t do so again.
Spec. (3) – K Sebastian Janikowski, LS Jon Condo, P Chris Kluwe
Note: I’ve switched punters. I would still choose King. I think Allen picks Kluwe.
In line photos of Juron Criner and David Bass provided by the Associated Press