Welcome to the Land of Predictions
A place where mock drafts, fantasy football insights, and 53-man roster predictions go to get ripped apart by readers and fans. Sure, nobody ever agrees on these sort of forecasts. That doesn’t mean it’s not interesting to take a closer look, though. Who will make the final cut onto the 53 man roster this season?
D. Carr, C. Cook, E. Manuel
Gruden admitted that the backup QB may not be on the current roster. At this point we can only go based off of what we have. Both Cook and Manuel have left a lot to be desired, but based on preseason rotation Cook seems the favorite to land the backup job. Manuel looked fine in game action last year and will serve as the 3rd string QB.
M. Lynch, D. Martin, J. Richard, K. Smith
Lynch will be the workhorse going into 2018, and much to Raiders fan’s chagrin, Doug Martin appears to be in the offense’s plans as the #2 running back. Richard has always shown explosive change of direction and should make this roster as the receiving option out of the backfield. Keith Smith will lead the way as our fullback. Look for Washington as a PUP possibility going into the season. Chris Warren has put a lot of good things on tape but do we need two power backs? We’d be lucky to keep Warren on our practice squad, but that’s probably our best chance at keeping him.
J. Cook, L. Smith, D. Carrier
Jared Cook set a career high last season with 54 catches, and looks to continue into 2018 as a key part of Oakland’s passing game. Lee Smith is a nasty blocker and will be an integral part of our 6-man protections this year. Jon Gruden calls Carrier a “Joker” because of his ability to lineup all over the field.
A. Cooper, J. Nelson, M. Bryant, D. Harris, S. Roberts, M. Ateman
It’s no secret that the first three names here are locks, but after them it gets interesting. Harris is a decent depth option but it’s his return abilities that land him on the final roster. Most Raiders fans want to see Roberts exiled, however he can be a decent 4th/5th receiving option with his excellent size, speed, and blocking abilities (if only he could catch). On “The Pillaging Podcast” this week I called Switzer a “lock” to make this roster as a slot WR, only to wake up the next morning and find that we traded him. Trading Switzer opens the door for the rookie Marcell Ateman to squeeze into the final 53 man roster.
K. Miller, K. Osemele, R. Hudson, G. Jackson, D. Penn, B. Parker, I. Silberman, J. Feliciano, D. Sharpe
The first five names in this slot are in set in stone for obvious reasons. It’s the depth that still needs to get worked out by the team.
Brandon Parker will make the squad as a 2nd round pick this year and provides depth at the tackle position. Ian Silberman is no stranger to the Raiders locker room, having been on the practice squad in 2017. He has shown the ability to play multiple positions and has been impressive at times from the right tackle position.
Jon Feliciano may have had some poor snaps this preseason, but he has shown enough versatility along the line so far in his career to earn a spot on this roster backing up the interior positions along the line. David Sharpe was a 4th round pick in 2017 and is the closest thing to a “veteran” that we have at the backup tackle position.
K. Mack, M. Edwards, J. Ellis, B. Irvin, T. Carradine, A. Key, P. Hall, M. Hurst, F. Brown, S. Calhoun
We are going to be optimistic here and assume Mack is back on day 1. Edwards, Ellis, and Irvin will all be starting alongside the beast. Arden Key, P.J. Hall, and Maurice Hurst all have Raider Nation excited and for good reason too. Carradine makes this roster as a depth piece at DE.
Now, will both Fadol Brown and Shilique Calhoun make the roster? On “The Pillaging Podcast” I said that it will have to be one or the other. It will be tough to carry 10 players along the Defensive Line, but lets be optimistic and say that we find a way to keep both preseason standouts.
D. Johnson, M. Lee, T. Whitehead, N. Marrow, E. Lamur, J. Cowser
Derrick Johnson comes in as the veteran presence in the middle of our defense. Marquel Lee has been one of the most impressive players throughout the Raiders preseason so far. Tahir Whitehead graded out very strongly against the run by PFF in 2017 and looks to be one of the most underrated signings of this season’s free agency period for Oakland.
Last year Raiders fans got a peak at our next diamond in the rough in Nicholas Morrow. The undrafted LB shows great athleticism and ability to fly around the field. Lamar was brought in as a guy who understands the defensive system and has also flashed on special teams in past seasons. James Cowser is a popular player in the Raiders locker room and has played solid this year in preseason. It will be a challenge for him to make this team, but he’s certainly done all that he can with one game left to prove his worth.
R. Melvin, G. Conley, DRC, D. Worley, L. Hall, N. Nelson
Melvin, Conley, and DRC will be on the field plenty in 2018. Worley was brought in after legal issues cost him his job in Philadelphia. He looks to be a physical corner who doesn’t shy away from contact. He will make this team, but expect a suspension to drop at some point in 2018. Leon Hall may be approaching his mid-thirties, but it seems like there is a spot on this roster for the vet.
This leaves room for one more corner in a now crowded position. In the NFL, successful teams are able to hold on to their draft picks. Nick Nelson was selected in the 4th round by Oakland, and has shown enough to prove that he may have a bright future in the Silver and Black. The odd man out here is Antonio Hamilton, who has flashed in the preseason. Despite his success, his best chance may be a suspension for Worley.
M. Gilchrist, K. Joseph, E. Harris
With the way this roster is shaping up, this only leaves room for 3 safeties. The argument for only keeping 3 here is that DRC has shown the ability to step into the FS roll when needed. Gilchrist was a free agent addition that wasn’t met with much excitement, but he can play multiple roles in the defensive backfield.
Karl Joseph may be a fan favorite, although it appears this coaching staff may not be too hot on the former first round pick. Nevertheless, Joseph should have no problem making this roster. It’s no secret that Jon Gruden loves him some Erik Harris. He may not have won over Raiders fans yet, but he’s won over over his head coach.
LS: A. Depaola
P: J. Townsend
K: M. Nugent/Pineiro
The only wildcard here is at the Kicker position. Pineiro continues to battle an injury that caused him to miss the 3rd game of this preseason. Would we carry 2 kickers into the regular season until the rookie is healthy? I doubt it. The kid has one more week to get healthy or Mike Nugent looks to be the guy going into Week1.
Written By: Chase Bugas (@RaidersUnsung)