Last Week I gave you four players to watch on Thursday night versus the Cowboys. Those players were TE Brandon Meyers, WR Nick Miller, CB Stanford Routt, and RB Louis Rankin.
Meyers played well, getting his nose dirty with a lot of blocking, and catching two passes for 29 yards. His blocking played a key roll in the running game, and he helped the silver and black rush for a total of 176 yards on the ground.
Nick Miller made a fantastic catch that not only made ESPN's top ten plays, but was a "can't miss catch" on NFL.com as well. Miller is quickly becoming a fan favorite, as well as a favorite of the coaching staff. He will likely get a lot of playing time against the 49ers.
Stanford Routt had a bad game. He was continuously picked on, and beaten, during the Dallas touchdown drive, including the touchdown pass which he was covering Jason Witten. Routt needs to bounce back if he wants to make a squad with some depth at cornerback.
Louis Rankin played very well, and may have given himself a shot at being the fourth halfack kept this season on the 53 man roster. He showed that he has good play making capabilities on his way to six carries for 31 yards and a TD.
This week I bring you four more players on the cusp to watch for against the "forty-whiners."
Click the slideshow to see them.
Jon Alston will start at strong side linebacker Saturday night for Oakland. Oakland fans have been getting ancy to see Alston get some game action.
Last week he was sidelined with an injury. Reportedly, Alston has beefed up in the wieght room, but managed to keep his speed that made him such a quality special teams player in the past.
Coaches have been high on his work ethic this offseason, leading many to speculate that he could start at strong side linebacker, and be that missing partner in "the Law Firm."
Last year he started four games, can he go sixteen this year?
Alston was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention player as a senior at Stanford, where he finished with 52 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, one interception and defensed one pass.
Alston was voted to Super-Prep’s All-Southwest region team in his senior year at Loyola College Prep in Shreveport, La. He was a Class AA all-state, all-city, all-conference linebacker, and all-conference as a running back.
Also, an academic all-state honoree as a senior.
At Loyola, he recorded 134 tackles and 21 tackles for loss in his senior season. Besides running back,played at free safety, tight end and middle linebacker.
Alston is a member of the National Honor Society.
Louis Murphy gets the start in this contest due to the injury to Chaz Schilens. Murphy is another guy who has been impressing the coaches this offseason, at one point prompting coach Cable to say, "He’s probably the surprise of our (rookie) class. He has all the makings to be a very special football player at this level—mainly because he was impressive on a daily basis. We really think we found one.”
Murphy was a team captain in Florida, but sort of played a third wheel to Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin.
Louis Murphy started 26 games for the Gators in his college career at Florida. He accumulated two national championships, a captain status in his senior year, and 27 straight games with a reception.
He was a great value pick by Oakland, as he was projected to go in the third round of the draft, but ended up going in the middle of the fourth to Oakland.
Murphy will likely make the most of his opportunity to be in the starting line-up, and could potentially put up numbers similar to Chaz Schilens' last week's preformance, if given the same opportunity.
Murphy has good size at 6'2" and 200 lbs. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the combine, and it's reported he once ran a 4.25 at Florida.
Branch will start Saturday at strong safety for Oakland. He is a second year player, and former second round pick who lost a big chunk of last year with an injury.
A six foot tall, 205 pounder from Connecticut, he is also a dangerous return man.
In college, Branch started 31 out of a possible 48 games, and accumulated 230 tackles. He had three picks, and broke up eighteen passes.
Branch runs a 4.31 forty yard dash.
Fans and coaches are expecting Branch to be a standout on defense this year, as he is a big hitter with plenty of speed. Last year, he played in eight games, totalling ten tackles, one interception, and one fumble recovery.
He was a standout on special teams, and this year he could become a very good safety for a long, long time.
Let's see how good Branch is in run support for two quarters against the 49ers.
Watkins has a chance to make his impression on the coaching staff with the injury to Schilens as well.
Last week, he made one catch for 28 yards. This week, he will look to improve upon those numbers as he will see more playing time on offense.
Todd Watkins is another seventh rounder that the coaches are high on. He is a very under the radar player even when you're talking to Raiders faithful.
He has a tremendous attitude about the Raider atmosphere and plays with an extraordinary amount of heart and courage.
During his first season at BYU, after being named an instant starter, Watkins totaled 52 receptions for 1042 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged a Mountain West Conference record 94.7 yards per game, and averaged 20 yards per catch.
After that season, he was named a first team all MWC and honorable mention all-american. Sports Illustrated named him the best deep threat in the nation.
Given the oppertunity, Watkins is prepared to make an impression saturday night.