Offseason Power Rankings for Every Player on Oakland Raiders' Roster
After an impressive offseason lead by general manager Reggie McKenzie, the Oakland Raiders have put together a roster that has a real chance to surprise some teams around the league.
While they may not compete for a playoff spot this season, they are most certainly headed in the right direction.
Despite some trades and cuts of their most highly paid players from 2012, a solid draft and some underrated free-agent signings allow for the argument to be made that this year’s roster is much improved already.
Here are offseason power rankings for the top 53 players on the Oakland Raiders’ current roster.
53. TE Richard Gordon
52. CB Taiwan Jones
51. LB Kaelin Burnett
50. DT Stacy McGee
49. DE David Bass
48. LB Keenan Clayton
47. OG Lucas Nix
46. DE Jack Crawford
45. TE Mychal Rivera
44. TE Nick Kasa
43. RB Latavius Murray
42. P Marquette King & Chris Kluwe
41. S Brandian Ross
40. DT Christo Bilukidi
39. QB Terrelle Pryor
38. LS Jon Condo
37. OL Alex Parsons
36. TE David Ausberry
35. OG Tony Bergstrom
34. QB Tyler Wilson
33. DE Jason Hunter
32. CB Phillip Adams
31. CB Joselio Hanson
30. WR Juron Criner
29. LB Miles Burris
28. RB Rashad Jennings
27. OG Mike Brisiel
26. CB Mike Jenkins
25. OT Menelik Watson
24. DT Pat Sims
23. OT Khalif Barnes
22. LB Sio Moore
21. WR/KR Josh Cribbs
20. LB Kaluka Maiava
Kaluka Maiava is one of several of the Raiders’ free-agent additions at linebacker.
Whether or not he earns a starting job in a crowded group remains to be seen, but his value is high nonetheless.
Capable of playing all three linebacker positions in 4-3 sets, Maiava is a solid tackler who can contribute in coverage as well. That versatility and ability to play all three downs bodes well for his potential role on this defense.
19. S Usama Young
With the signing of Charles Woodson, Usama Young is likely slated for a backup role rather than a starting one heading into the season.
At the same time, especially considering the prevalence of the passing game in today’s NFL, having depth in the secondary is essential for nickel and dime packages.
Usama Young was a productive player in both New Orleans and Cleveland, contributing both in coverage and run support. Having that ability off the bench and in sub packages will be a valuable addition to a now much-improved Raiders secondary.
18. WR Rod Streater
After signing as an undrafted free agent, Rod Streater had a very surprising rookie campaign, establishing himself as one of the more reliable Raiders receivers.
With Darrius Heyward-Bey released earlier in the offseason, Streater is the leading candidate to take over the starting role across from Denarius Moore and should only see his production rise as a result.
Having had limited college experience, we can expect Streater to only get better with the more work he gets at the NFL level.
17. DT Vance Walker
Having not addressed the defensive tackle position early in the draft as many would have expected, the Raiders find themselves quite thin in that spot.
As such, the free-agent addition of the versatile Vance Walker will be all the more important, and he will be counted on in a big way.
In Atlanta, Walker was part of an interior line rotation, never getting to fully establish himself in a starting role.
He now has that opportunity with the Raiders and can be a productive three-down player from Day 1.
16. CB Tracy Porter
Coming to the Raiders, Tracy Porter is reunited with his former position coach, Dennis Allen, with whom he experienced his most success.
Porter has established himself as a very capable starter in the NFL, performing at a high level on the biggest of stages. He brings the Raiders a player capable of playing both outside and in the slot, and one who can make plays on the football.
Porter is coming off a frustrating season in Denver, most of which was well out of his control. With those health concerns now behind him, he will look to bounce back in a big way and will be an important part of a rebuilt Raiders secondary.
15. CB D.J. Hayden
The Raiders’ first-round selection out of Houston, D.J. Hayden will enter the season as a favorite to start at one of the two cornerback positions.
Hayden possesses all of the physical ability to be an elite cornerback in the NFL, excelling in both man and zone coverage, and having the ball skills to create turnovers.
We don’t yet know whether that ability will translate to success as early as his rookie season, but such an outcome would go a long way to turning around a secondary unit that struggled in 2012.
Having a veteran like Charles Woodson playing with him in the secondary can only help Hayden’s transition to the professional level and bodes well moving forward.
14. DE Andre Carter
The Raiders chose to bring back Andre Carter on another one-year deal, and for good reason.
No, Carter did not have the most productive of seasons in 2012, but he was coming off a season-ending injury the year prior and was still arguably the Raiders’ best pass-rusher.
Now entering the season fully healthy, there is reason to believe that Carter can at the very least be an effective situational pass-rusher, helping one of the team’s biggest weaknesses. That, in addition to the veteran leadership he will bring, makes him an extremely valuable part of this Raiders roster.
13. LB Kevin Burnett
Kevin Burnett is possibly the most underrated signing the Raiders have made throughout this offseason.
In 2012, as an outside linebacker in Miami’s 4-3 alignment, similar to the role he’ll play in Oakland, Burnett tallied a career-high 110 tackles, with 2.5 sacks and five passes defended.
While Raiders fans certainly did not enjoy seeing Philip Wheeler depart via free agency, Burnett has been just as productive over his past few seasons, coming at a fraction of the cost as well.
Furthering his value even more is the veteran presence he will provide on what is a relatively young and inexperienced team. Look for Kevin Burnett to be an important Raiders player in 2013.
12. LB Nick Roach
Another of the Raiders’ free-agent additions in the linebacking corps, Nick Roach provides an important upgrade on the inside.
While the former Raiders starter at middle linebacker, Rolando McClain, had some success defending the run, he had difficulty in coverage.
Early on, Roach’s much more balanced play style will become obvious, as he can be a contributor in many areas, making him an every-down player.
11. WR/KR Jacoby Ford
Jacoby Ford, like several other Raiders players, has extremely high potential but has had some trouble staying on the field as of late.
If his injury issues are now behind him, the argument can easily be made that Ford is the most dynamic of the Raiders’ weapons on both offense and special teams.
His breakaway speed and vision allow for him to take any play the length of the field to the end zone. As such, the Raiders’ offensive staff would be wise to do anything and everything to get the ball into Ford’s hands in as many ways possible.
10. WR Denarius Moore
After a bit of a down year in 2012, Denarius Moore will be looking to bounce back in 2013.
In his 2011 rookie campaign, we saw Moore establish himself as a dynamic playmaker and downfield threat for the silver and black.
The hope is that new Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson will use Moore similar to the way Hue Jackson did in that season. Should he be able to do that within the offense he brings, Moore has the chance to reach his full potential as a receiver.
9. QB Matt Flynn
Matt Flynn, after being acquired in an offseason trade from the Seattle Seahawks, will enter Raiders training camp as the starting quarterback.
After impressive performances in limited opportunities as a starter, Flynn will look to take hold of this job, and thus this team.
While he doesn’t have the strongest arm in the league, he can still make all of the necessary throws to be a successful NFL quarterback. With the Raiders’ ground game expected to bounce back in a big way, Flynn could be put in a good position for success in 2013.
8. C Stefen Wisniewski
The center position is one of the most important yet underrated on any given football team. In Stefen Wisniewski, the Raiders have themselves a good one.
Going back to the man-/gap-blocking scheme should help Wisniewski improve even more in 2013, as will the presence of an experienced position coach like Tony Sparano.
Wisniewski is already one of the Raiders’ best young players overall and will continue to be a cornerstone player to build around heading into the future.
7. S Charles Woodson
Last week’s signing and thus homecoming of Charles Woodson was the most exciting news the Raider Nation has had in quite some time.
In Woodson, the Raiders now have a true leader for not only the defense, but the team altogether.
While his age says that he is much closer to the end of his career than the beginning, Woodson can still play at a high level as a playmaking safety.
Overall, Woodson is a great fit for the Raiders as they rebuild, and he will be one of a few players very important to their success in 2013.
6. K Sebastian Janikowski
When Sebastian Janikowski was drafted, the Raiders were heavily scrutinized for selecting a kicker in the first round. Looking back, it has worked out pretty well.
Janikowski started his career known solely for the powerful leg he still has today but experienced some struggles with accuracy.
Now, having only gotten better with age, he is arguably the best all-around kicker in the league as well as the Raiders’ all-time leading scorer.
Since Janikowski will be a free agent after this year, the Raiders should plan to use their significant amount of cap room to make re-signing him a top priority.
5. S Tyvon Branch
Amid the struggles the Raiders have had on defense for several years now, the contributions and abilities of Tyvon Branch have not gone unnoticed.
With an improved secondary, including both the additions at cornerback and that of Charles Woodson at safety, Branch will have as much talent around him as he’s ever had.
As such, expect him to have his best season since being drafted by the Raiders, further establishing himself as a cornerstone and leader on this defense.
4. OT Jared Veldheer
Thanks to an offseason workout picture that went viral, Jared Veldheer has become fairly well known among NFL fans. The reality is that his play since being drafted in 2010 warrants that recognition even more.
Veldheer gives the Raiders a balanced player at the left tackle position, excelling both in pass protection and in run-blocking.
Thus far, Veldheer has only gotten better with every season, and heading into a contract year, he will certainly look to continue that trend in a big way. The Raiders would be wise to lock him up into a long-term deal well before he hits the free-agent market in 2014.
3. DE Lamarr Houston
Now entering his fourth season, Lamarr Houston continues to establish himself as one of the best young defensive linemen in the NFL.
Houston’s size and strength would have many seeing him as an interior defensive lineman, and he could very well end up there one day. However, the rare quickness he has adding to that skill set allows him to play his defensive end position very well, including being downright dominant in the run game.
As this defense opens up, Houston has the opportunity and necessary ability to contribute even more as a pass-rusher, and thus become that much more recognized as one of the league’s rising defensive stars.
2. FB Marcel Reece
The Raiders are likely the only team in the NFL that would have their fullback anywhere near this high in roster power rankings, but Marcel Reece is quite deserving.
Much more than the classic blocking fullback, Reece is a dynamic playmaker as both a ball-carrier and pass-catcher.
This season, more than any before, the Raiders need to find a way to best exploit the matchup nightmares that Reece can cause for opposing defenses. Doing so will see a rise in production for both him and the rest of his offensive teammates.
1. RB Darren McFadden
While he has had some injury issues over the span of his Raiders career, there is no denying that Darren McFadden is easily the best player on the entire roster.
Moving back to a running scheme that better suits his talents, should he get through the season relatively healthy, McFadden once again has the potential to be among the top runners in the NFL.
McFadden is not only the most talented player on the team, but one of its leaders as well. The Raiders will count on him in a big way in 2013.
Dan Wilkins is an Oakland Raiders Featured Columnist. You can follow him on Twitter here.