Oakland Raiders: 5 Most Expendable Offensive Players
What is an expendable player? In my mind it's a player that has proven they can play at the NFL level, but that the team reluctantly has kept around until they can find a better option.
Depth at a particular position can make veterans expendable. Younger players might be expendable if they stopped improving and are being pushed down the depth chart by other players.
Players that can't stay healthy might be expendable too as the team has likely found a suitable replacement while they are waiting for them to heal.
There are all kinds if reasons a player might be expendable, and no team is without a few of them.
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The Raiders needed a blocking fullback to complement Marcel Reece in 2011 and found Manase Tonga. Tonga played that role pretty well, but a knee injury during the 2012 offseason program could derail his chances of making the roster at all.
Marcel Reece was unsigned when Tonga was injured and the Raiders had to have a body. Reggie McKenzie decided to bring in the best fit in Owen Schmitt.
Schmitt has experience in the zone-blocking system and also spent a year with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp making him the favorite to win the blocking fullback job.
Tonga also played in 11 games in his only accrued NFL season and is no longer eligible for the practice squad. He'll have to learn the zone-blocking scheme quickly and outplay Schmitt to win the blocking fullback job.
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The Raiders lost Zach Miller in free agency last year, but promptly signed Kevin Boss as a replacement. When Reggie McKenzie took over the management of the Raiders he released Boss, making Myers the projected starter by default.
Myers might win the job as the starting tight end, but David Ausberry and Richard Gordon are both vying for the spot and should be given the opportunity during training camp. Gordon had a nice minicamp and Ausberry put on the necessary weight to become a better blocker, but both still have work to do.
If Ausberry becomes the decent blocker, Gordon would the natural complementary blocking tight end and not Myers. In a sense, Myers could go from starter to third string in an instant.
Myers isn't totally expendable yet, but it's only a a matter of time before a younger player develops or McKenzie goes shopping for a better tight end.
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Nothing says expendable like getting replaced by a free agent, released, re-signed to play a different position, then the team uses its first draft pick on a player that plays that position.
To Carlisle's credit he's competing for the job and the team has yet to give rookie Tony Bergstrom first-team reps—although that is expected during training camp.
Carlisle is aging and the Raiders have a replacement in the wings. Carlisle is expendable unless the Raiders have injury issues or he plays significantly better than Bergstrom.
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Being a right tackle in Oakland has got to be a tough job. The fans haven't been satisfied with a right tackle in over a decade. Barnes replaced Langston Walker, but was only marginally better in 2011.
Holding penalties have been an issue for Barnes and he's been suspect as a run-blocker as well. Barnes actually was decent in pass protection in 2011, but he didn't look good doing it.
Joseph Barksdale enters his second season and should push Barnes for his job in 2011. Like Bergstrom, Barksdale should get some first-team reps in training camp.
It's hard to believe Barnes was initially brought in to compete for the left tackle job.
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It's been a quick decline for Louis Murphy. He's gone from the top receiving option in Oakland to on the roster bubble in two years. Injury has played a role, but more so the young talent the Raiders have added.
Darrius Heyward-Bey has solidified his role and Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford now play important roles on offense.
Even before the 2012 NFL draft, it looked like a make or break year for Murphy. The Raiders potentially landed a couple of gems in the draft in Juron Criner and Rod Streater and that may have accelerated Murphy's exit.
The Raiders certainly don't need Murphy like they once did, and he's now a veteran that is just clogging up the depth chart in front of younger players.
Murphy might make the roster, but the Raiders have certainly made him expendable with their moves over the past two seasons.