Oakland Raiders: Seven Players on the Right Side of the Roster Bubble
We have discussed players on the wrong side of the roster bubble, who may not make the final cut down, so now onto those players on the right side of the cut.
They might be undrafted, drafted late, or free agents signings of have come to Oakland via trade, but with the pre season hotting up there are still roster places to be earned. Here is my list of players who I think have done enough to make the 2010 Raider team.
And the 2010 Oakland Raider team is much better than the 2009 Oakland Raider team.
Let's hope that this will translate into wins for the silver and black this coming season.
Wie Receiver: Nick Miller
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Last years free agent signing from Southern Utah spent all last season as an inactive, having injured his shin early on.
Normally you wouldn't expect an undrafted free agent who sat out the year to be back, but Nick Miller is I think the exception.
He may be small, but he has great hands and an explosive burst very much in the Wes Welker mould, and his potential as a returner gives him added value. Nick Miller may have the best hands of any Raiders wide receiver, and it would be interesting to see what he could do with some extended playing time.
His late acrobatic touchdown catch against the Cowboys should have cemented his place on the roster even if he wasn't there already.
Linebacker: Travis Goethel
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It came as a bit of a surprise when the Raiders drafted Travis Goethel in the sixth round out of Arizona State in the is years draft.
They had already taken Rolando McLain in the first round, and having also traded for Kamerion Wimbley, many felt that Goethel was possibly a wasted pick.
But he is a prototype Tom Cable type player, in that he is very versatile playing both the inside and outside positions, and a hard working, tough minded team player.
Again, his ability as a special teams gunner might go someway to securing his roster spot, but he has also played well with the second team defense, and was all over the field in the Dallas game. The release of Isaiah Ekejiuba may signal that a special teams role is expected of Goethel.
My money is on him to make the opening day roster.
Safety: Stevie Brown
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As the final Oakland raiders pick of the 2010 draft, in the seventh round, it was always going to be a big ask for Stevie Brown to make the Raiders opening day team.
This was another pick that many said was poor, but Brown has since silenced the critics with a string of good performances both in practice and against the Dallas Cowboys.
He has tackles well, taking good angles in pursuit, and has also shown a knack for making the big play.
He picked off a pass against the Cowboys, and has made interceptions on an almost daily basis during practice. This kind of play gets you noticed.
For me, Stevie Brown makes the roster.
Linebacker: Ricky Brown
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Now some might not think that Ricky Brown is close to the edge of the roster bubble, but I do.
Just like Sam Williams, Brown has had the chance to make the SAM linebacker position his own, and has failed to do so in his time in Oakland.
He has also been injured in one way or another for a lot of games in the last two years. The lack of dominant play, and his unavailability to take the field spells trouble.
So does the play of rookie Travis Goethel. Goethel is very similar to Brown, in that he can play inside or out, and has value on special teams. But Goethel is younger, cheaper, and apparently more durable.
It has been said that the Raiders won't keep both Brown and Goethel as they are too similar.
I disagree, I think both players will make the roster. But if Brown struggles with injury again this year, he won't be here in 2011.
Defensive End: Chris Cooper
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Many of you may remember defensive end Chris Cooper during his first spell with the Raiders. He was a fifth round draft pick who made the team, and provided good play as a pass rushing defensive tackle on the Raiders last Superbowl team all those years ago.
Back then he wore number 75 and was nick named 'Little Howie'.
I believe that Cooper is a dark horse to make the team, but that prediction is partially founded on the health of Jay Richardson.
With the Raiders using bigger defensive ends this year, Richardson is the only real backup. If he is struggling with injury, John Marshall is going to need someone else to turn to if Richardson has more knee problems or is out for an extended period.
Cooper is a towards the end of his career now, but still has something left, and fits the Raiders new defensive scheme.
I see space on the roster for Cooper, and for me he makes the team.
Quarterback: Kyke Boller
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When Kyle Boller signed with the Raiders, Who already had Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie under contract in addition to Jason Campbell, I don't think he was considered by the fans or the media anything other than an extra arm for camp.
The Raiders were happy with Gradkowski and Frye, and there really was no place for Boller.
But Kyle Boller put together an excellent camp, and fortune has smiled in him in the form of a wrist injury to Frye. Actually, I think that Boller would have edged out Frye without the injury, as in addition to a good training camp, he has performed well in pre season.
Boller was also a former first round pick, and you know how Al Davis lines to collect them.
Fullback: Manase Tonga
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Is Manase Tonga a top quality fullback?
Probably not, but it is a position that the Raiders are awfully thin at right now, especially with Luke Lawton suspended for the first four games.
Tonga has shown some good blocking skills in camp, and also some decent hands out of the backfield, and that maybe enough to get him on the team, although I do see him as the least likely of the seven to make the squad.
But the Raiders problems at fullback may be Tonga's gain. Outside of Lawton, he is the best pure fullback on the team.