Oakland Raiders 2010 Training Camp: Top 10 Players on the Roster Bubble
Now is the time for all good Raiders to step forward and take what they can.
For the Raider Nation, over the next few weeks, free agents and draft picks will work to secure a future with the Oakland Raiders or hope to attract the attention of another club, hoping to stay employed within the National Football league.
As it stands, the camps will test, train, and educate, but they will also discover weaknesses, weed out imperfections and hopefully deliver the best possible product to the fans, for the first week of football against the Titans.
Within this slideshow, you will see 10 players who, while not as secure as Jason Campbell, each hope to hang onto the dream.
Marcel Reece - A Solid Future in Oakland?
If a player comes to the club from another team, he might be considered a fresh pickup. If he's never been drafted, it might raise some eyebrows.
Marcel Reece, a two-year veteran, has seen only spot duty, as well filling in at the end of the season against Cleveland and Balitmore, getting 20 yards with two catches.
He's been looked at as possibly a receiver, tight end, or fullback as needed, mostly a spare parts player on a team with many needs. It becomes a question if the Raiders fill in those spots will he settle into a single position, or become one of the players cut before the season starts.
The Raiders have a number of bodies in all three positions. It will be up to Marcel to show something in the preseason to keep his dream alive.
Paul Hubbard - Potentially Buried?
When Paul Hubbard was picked up, some background information was going to come out as well.
Here was a sixth round selection from the Cleveland Browns who played college ball at Wisconsin, but also was a teammate in high school with Vincent Jackson. The Browns took a shot, but the effort didn't pay out.
On to Oakland. Paul has a tough sell, not only for himself but to prove his way ahead of several other roster names.
Looking at Oakland's wide receiver group, you already have Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, Chaz Schilens, and Johnnie Lee Higgins as the starting group, plus Todd Watkins and Johnathan Holland as backups.
Depending on what he can show the club in short order, he might find a job in special teams...or his road will continue elsewhere, or end here.
Brandon Rodd - Wayward Son?
Brandon Rodd is a wayward son, originally picked up by the Raiders, undrafted in 2008. A big product out of Arizona State, he spent a year with Buffalo, and then returned and is still looking for a line to crack. Playing guard, it seems to be an open invite for anyone looking for a chance, with the Raiders entertaining eight different players.
Oh, and for the two spots open? One belongs to Robert Gallery, while the other has been with Cooper Carlsile.
What plays well in his favor? For one, he has already seen the system, the camp and the program Oakland works with. If he can learn to adapt, as it was seen last year that the line has players who can shift around at times, Brandon might find himself a secure job.
Otherwise, there are other clubs that might use an extra guard on the roster.
John Owens - Last Run for the Ex-Seahawk?
For six teams, Owens has been a journeyman, with stops in Seattle, New Orleans, Detroit (twice), Chicago, Cleveland, and Miami. For every player, there remains the question can this player give the team something they are missing?
John would not have an easy task, trying to secure a starting job, that much is certain. He is also the same age as tight end Tony Stewart, but would need to perform flawlessly for a chance to unseat him.
Originally a fifth round pick by the Lions, Owens may have had his last run.
Greyson Gunheim - Running out of time?
Greyson Gunheim was picked up as an undrafted free agent out of Washington, some wondered if he'd get a chance to prove himself.
On the practice squad for a good portion of the 2008 season and activated for two games, the last game of the year, in Tampa Bay, would prove a good highlight, with a tackle and his only career sack in a Raiders win.
Greyson will need to both prove himself ready to play, but also to help himself perform in other tasks. He did return work in 2008, so perhaps with improvement he can work himself into a special teams position more often.
Jeremy Ware - Seventh Round Hopeful?
Being a seventh round pick is no sure thing to make the NFL...but it has been done.
Jeremy Ware, from Michigan State, does not have the normal size factor for a cornerback, at 5'10", but enjoys playing with heart in front of the hometown crowd in college.
His path to the pros might have him start in the special teams field, where he can learn the ropes. Given that Oakland has one superstar at corner, Jeremy can only hope to impress enough people to stay for a season. He might also be a practice squad option, if he impresses enough people for the Raiders.
David Nixon - Practice Squad Last Year, What About This Year?
Last year, David Nixon spent a good portion of the season on the practice squad, then saw action in three games, to finish off the season. In four preseason games, he performed well, getting 14 tackles. He made his first playing duty against the Bengals, then the last two games of the season.
How can he improve his standing with the club for another year?
By playing smart football, staying healthy, and learning. Oakland has three players who will need to be spelled at times during the season, if David and play his cards right, he might be on the roster when the 53 men are left standing.
Kellen Heard - Big Man on the Field?
Reading about this guy, you have to consider anyone can be big.
At 6'6" and 355, tackling this guy would be difficult. As a defensive tackle, running around him instead of through him is more likely. After playing at Memphis, Kellen is buried behind Tommy Kelly and John Henderson, two equally large fellows. What might help him make the roster this year?
For one, he's five years younger than Kelly and a lot cheaper on the pocketbook. While he's 55 pounds heavier than Kelly, players do get tired over time. Having Kellen handy might provide spot relief, if he can learn the position from the coaches.
Just having the size will not cut it anymore in Oakland.
MIchael Bennett - The Veteran looking for a Home
Michael Bennett is the classic "one last show" football player, looking for a team to latch onto. Oakland doesn't stand to lose anything by having him in camp and his efforts might translate into help for the club, if he can still perform at a good level.
Early on, Bennett was with the Vikings, as a first round pick back in 2001. Now at age 31, he has played for the Saints, Chiefs, Chargers, and Bucs, along with the Vikings.
A Pro Bowler from 2002, he could add some depth on returns, or if the Raiders elect to use a three-back set, Bennett could be used for end zone duty, keeping McFadden and Bush fresh.
It will come down to if Bennett is still running full steam in the last preseason game. If he has his game still, he could help the club. Otherwise, his dream ends.
Kyle Boller - A Quarterback Looking for a Chance
Kyle Boller's journey probably didn't go according to plan, for anyone.
Drafted originally by the Ravens, this first round pick was expected to lead the team into the future and help the club develop on offense...the defense was fine.
After injuries ended a couple seasons, the Ravens chose to look at Steve McNair as a better option, Boller moved on to the Rams, and now into Oakland.
Some feel he might be a project for Hue Jackson, the new offensive coordinator, but also he might be a more capable backup than Charlie Frye was.
As it stands right now, it is highly doubtful that the Raiders will go into week one with four quarterbacks...and with Bruce Gradkowski is locked in at No. 2, Kyle will have to play for his job.
Injuries can affect the roster, more than anything. Players going on the IR, early on, can open a spot on the roster for any player.
As much as I hate to say it, Johnnie Lee Higgins has to step up, or he'll find himself along with other WR options of the past...unemployed.
Any names to mention? Feel free to drop them in the comments...who do you think is safe or dead this training camp?