Oakland Raiders 2010 Training Camp: 53-Man Roster Prediction
Tom Cable has many job sustaining decisions to make in training camp. There will be many battles for positions and roster spots as a wave of new blood has come to Raider Nation.
There have been many different spring depth charts released that didn't necessarily come from Cable's desk. This one is just as unofficial as the rest of them as camp has not begun yet.
Turn the page to see my predictions.
No. 1 Jason Campbell
No. 2 Bruce Gradkowski
No. 3 Kyle Boller
Campbell will be the guy this year, Gradkowski will back him up, and Boller will unseat Charlie Frye as the Raider's plan C.
I'm looking for much better production out of this position this year.
The Running Backs
No. 1 Darren McFadden/1A Michael Bush
No. 2 Michael Bennett
No. 1 Luke Lawton
No. 2 Manese Tonga
McFadden and Bush are both starters that figure to get more work with Justin Fargas out of the picture. They should both break out this year as the Raiders won't see as many eight and nine-man fronts.
Bennett will provide extra lightning behind the "Thunder and Lightning" of Bush and McFadden.
"If you're not cheating, you're not trying," is a Raider saying. Lawton was caught cheating with PODs, so they know he's trying. Tonga should get the job until Lawton returns.
The Wide Receivers
No. 1 Chaz Schilens
No. 2 Louis Muphy
No. 3 Darrius Heyward-Bey
No. 4 Johnny Lee Higgins
No. 5 Jacoby Ford
No. 6 Nick Miller
Schilenz will have a Miles Austin breakout type of season if he stays healthy. I know that seems like a bold statement, but I'm predicting this year to be the year it happens for him.
Heyward-Bey may have improved, but isn't ready for prime-time yet. He will probably be given the first crack but Murphy is a playmaker with outstanding game speed. That will ultimately win him the No. 2 spot.
Ford's 4.2 wheels have earned him an Al Davis speed scholarship and a look at kick returner. Johnny Lee Higgins and Nick Miller will provide depth at the receiver and return spots.
The Tight Ends
No. 1 Zach Miller
No. 2 Brandon Myers
No. 3 Tony Steward
This is Miller's breakout season since he now has a quarterback. Brandon Myers will give the Raiders a good one-two punch in two tight end sets. Steward is a blocking tight end that gives depth.
The Offensive Line
Mario Henderson—left tackle
Robert Gallery—left guard
Bruce Campbell—right guard
Langston Walker—right tackle
Khalif Barnes/Jared Veldheer—left tackle
Daniel Loper—left guard
Alex Parsons/Jared Vedheer—center
Cooper Carlisle—right guard
Erik Pears—right tackle
This is only to start with. Gallery is the only one that really has his job and even that depends on how well he has recovered from back surgery.
Look for undrafted rookie Parsons to send Morris Packing. Veldheer worked at the center position in minicamp and if he can learn it fast enough, he could very well unseat Satele as the starter.
Barnes could very well get a shot at left tackle again. If Henderson falters, I can't see Veldheer being ready this year.
Barnes has been a good tackle in the NFL before. I would not underestimate his chances of beating out Henderson.
Last year was not a fair assessment of Barnes. After breaking his leg, he was put back on the field without the opportunity to get back in shape.
Look for Campbell to start at right guard. McFadden will now be escorted outside by two sub-5.0 guards.
This unit is very hard to estimate because this is all about the best combination of five guys.
No. 1 Nnamdi Asomugha
No. 2 Chris Johnson
No. 3 Walter McFadden
No. 4 Stanford Routt
No. 5 Jeremy Ware
No. 1 Michael Huff
No. 2 Hiram Eugene
No. 1 Tyvon Branch
No. 2 Michael Mitchell
Asomugha is obviously our No. 1 corner as he is the game's best. Chris Johnson looks to rebound from last year.
Look for McFadden to replace Routt as the nickle corner. I also have a wild-card situation here.
Huff has the coverage skills to move to corner. This will give Mitchell a chance to get on the field at safety.
The Linebacking Corps
No. 1 Trevor Scott
No. 2 Quentin Groves
No. 3 Jon Condo
No. 1 Rolando McClain
No. 2 Travis Goethel
No. 1 Kamerion Wimbley
No. 2 Thomas Howard
No. 3 Sam Williams
McClain's draft status says that he will be our middle linebacker this year. His skills as a linebacker say the same thing.
Wimbley was brought over to play strong side linebacker. Scott did a good job against the run and blitzing last year but is lacking in coverage.
Look for Howard to come in as a pass coverage specialist. Williams will remain on scholarship and probably replace special teams star Isiah Ekejuba.
It appears that too much talent has been brought in for Ekejuba to remain. Jon Condo will stay in Raider Nation for his Pro Bowl long snapping skills.
The Defensive Line
No. 1 Richard Seymour
No. 2 Trevor Scott
No. 1 LaMarr Houston
No. 2 Matt Shaunessy
No. 1 John Henderson
No. 2 Kellen Heard
No. 1 Tommy Kelly
No. 2 Dezmond Bryant
This depth chart prediction could be way off outside of the starters. This is because they are all so versatile and can be plugged in anywhere.
Seymour will have a monster year because he now has help. Opposing teams will not get the same result trying to run the ball on this group.
The Punter and Kicker
Lechler and Janikowski aren't a prediction. We all know that, like Tuesday follows Monday, they will be in their places in 2010.
Need I say more?
Camp is here again!
I hope you enjoyed the predictions I've made for the 53-man roster for 2010.