The Raiders are on their way to Seattle for their exhibition finale against the Seahawks.
While they’re relaxing, we’re crunching the numbers, breaking down the tape and making sense of everything we’ve seen during offseason workouts, training camp and the first three exhibition games.
So, what better time to take a sneak peek at how the Raiders 53-man roster shapes up for the 2012 season?
We will break down the roster into three categories: locks, on the bubble and long-shots.
Locks are players who are certain to make the roster as of now, barring injury, trade or an abysmal performance Thursday night.
On the bubble players have a decent shot of making the team but shouldn’t be tattooing the Raiders shield anywhere on their bodies just yet.
Long-shots is a sizable group of players unlikely to make the team as of now. For some of these players, their best shot of sticking around is in case of injury or by virtue of the practice squad.
Final roster cuts are Friday. Here’s our best educated guess:
QB — Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor
RB — Darren McFadden and Taiwan Jones
FB — Marcel Reece and Owen Schmitt
WR — Jacoby Ford, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, Juron Criner, Rod Streater and Roscoe Parrish
TE — Brandon Myers, David Ausberry and Richard Gordon
OL — Jared Veldheer, Cooper Carlisle, Stefen Wisniewski, Mike Brisiel, Khalif Barnes, Joseph Barksdale, Alex Parsons and Tony Bergstrom
DL — Matt Shaughnessy, Lamarr Houston, Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Desmond Bryant, Dave Tollefson and Christo Bilukidi
LB — Rolando McClain, Philip Wheeler and Miles Burris
CB — Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer
S — Michael Huff, Tyvon Branch, Mike Mitchell and Matt Giordano
K — Sebastian Janikowski
P — Shane Lechler
LS — Jon Condo
43 players are locks. That leaves 10 spots from the following players.
ON THE BUBBLE
QB — None
RB — Mike Goodson and Lonyae Miller
FB — None
WR — Travionte Session
TE — None
OL — None
DL — Jamie Cumbie, Jack Crawford and Dominique Hamilton
LB — Aaron Curry (likely to remain on the physically-unable-to-perform list because of sore knees), Travis Goethel and Carl Ihenacho
CB — DeMarcus Van Dyke, Chimdi Chekwa, Pat Lee and Bryan McCann
S — Brandon Underwood
K — None
P — None
QB — None
RB — None
FB — None
WR — Eddie McGee, Derek Carrier and Brandon Carswell
TE — Tory Humphrey and Kyle Efaw
OL — Dan Knapp, Kevin Haslam, Lucas Nix, Nick Howell and Colin Miller
DL — Hall Davis
LB — Kaelin Burnett, Chad Kilgore and Nathan Stupar
CB — Coye Francies
S — Curtis Taylor
K — Eddy Carmona
P — Marquette King
With that said, the odds-on candidates to capture the final 10 spots are: RB Mike Goodson, DLs Jamie Cumbie and Jack Crawford, LBs Travis Goethel and Carl Ihenacho, CBs DeMarcus Van Dyke, Chimdi Chekwa, Pat Lee and Bryan McCann and S Brandon Underwood
This leaves the Raiders thin at linebacker, assuming Curry winds up on the PUP list. However, Tollefson is versatile enough to help out in a pinch, as he did with the New York Giants. Carrying six cornerbacks gives the Raiders better odds of finding one or two long-term keepers.
Also, carrying only eight offensive linemen isn’t exactly ideal. Yet, Bergstrom and Barksdale are versatile enough to play multiple positions, as well on both sides of the line. And, the Raiders won’t have any difficulty adding a player if the need arises.
It’s also important to remember that the Raiders cut Giordano last season in reaching 53 players, only to re-sign him a few days later. This is just the next phase of the building process.
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