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Oakland Raiders' Roster Cuts: Who's on the Bubble?

Carl CockerhamSenior Analyst IAugust 15, 2011

Oakland Raiders' Roster Cuts: Who's on the Bubble?

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    The Oakland Raiders are actually deep in a few positions, so this preseason is going to be important. The players in the positions the Raiders are deep in can be in or out of a job with one good or bad play.

    That's how close some of these roster battles are.

    The Raiders have only completed two weeks of training camp and played in one preseason game. But as of right now, I see some players on the roster bubble as a result of their own play and the play of others

    Turn the page to see who they are.

Walter McFadden

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    Raider corners are asked to do a lot as far as always having to bump and run the man in front of them. I am seriously starting to believe that the Raiders coverage system just isn't for Walter McFadden.

    He was easy pickens Thursday night, as well as the times he did play in 2010.

    I understand that the Raiders plan to mix things up a bit this year but the Raiders will be in man coverage most of the time. When the Raiders play against the New England Patriots or teams that spread things out, McFadden will be picked on if he stays with the Raiders and plays that way.

    Rookie corner DeMarcus Van Dyke showed in his first NFL action that he can cover but just has to play the ball better. Sterling Moore also looked good, and he's lurking out there after having himself a good training camp.

    Don't forget the Chimdi Chekwa was drafted to and will soon start to see action.

    McFadden may be better off with the Ravens.

    Chris Carr and Fabian Washington are holding jobs there.

Nick Miller

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    Nick Miller was very exciting in the 2009 and 2010 preseasons respectively.

    In 2009, Miller got injured in camp and the Raiders ended up keeping him for the future anyway. In 2010, he had another good camp and actually looked good early in the season as a punt returner.

    Miller then ended up with a high ankle sprain that affected his play so his return production dropped.

    This year, he started the exhibition season with a 17-yard put return and a couple of third down catches from the slot. That's not too bad, but now rookie Denarius Moore is in Raider Nation making plays and Derek Hagan had a 42-yard catch.

    To threaten Miller further, Moore had a long punt that didn count because it was called back.

    Miller is going to have to stay healthy and make plays in the return game to remain a Raider. I'm actually rooting for Miller to do so becaue Moore is going to make the team with or without return skills.  

Richard Gordon

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    Richard Gordon, the Raiders' 2011 sixth round pick, needs to do something if he's going to make the team. The Raiders usually keep three tight ends and it looks like four are ahead of him right now.

    Former Giant Kevin Boss is a great run blocker and has dependable hands as a receiver. David Ausberry doesn't looking like run blocking is going to be a problem and could be special as a receiving tight end.

    Brandon Meyers looks to have his hands back in 2011 and knows the Raiders' system. Even Kevin Brock went into the game last Thursday and made a couple of plays in the passing game.

    I saw nothing from Gordon, so he has to get on track to make the team.

Jeremy Ware

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    With Nnamdi Asomugha gone, the Raiders are working hard to find depth at the corner position. After Chris Johnson and Stanford Routt, there really isn't anyone except for Michael Huff, who's going to play nickel corner to add to free safety.

    As I said before, Van Dyke showed something on Thursday and the Raiders are going to develop him. Chekwa is hurt now, but every indication is that the Raiders have plans for him, so Ware must make plays.

    He didn't on Thursday night. 

Derek Hagan

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    Derek Hagan being on the roster bubble isn't necessarily a bad place to be in his case. With the big plays he made in camp and the 42-yard catch against the Cardinals, Hagan has played his way unto the roster bubble.

    I believe he might have pulled Miller down to the roster bubble.

    If he keeps it up, it will be interesting to see who the Raiders keep as their six receivers on the roster. My magic number is six because that's the amount of receivers the Raiders had on the roster last year. 

    I'm not ready to put often injured Chaz Schilens on the bubble yet, but Hagan could be the one to put him there.

Sterling Moore

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    Another man that has played his way unto the Raiders' roster bubble is Sterling Moore. Reports out of camp have him doing well and he looks to have carried it over to when the lights come on so far in limited duty.

    The limited duty may not be so limited when the Raiders take the field against the 49ers on Saturday.

    Raider head coach Hue Jackson said, "I know he wants to be in the game and he's always pushing to get in. That's good and he's a tough, competitive guy. He didn't play a ton the other night but the guy should get a chance to see what he could do.

    That's all this undrafted free agent is asking for.

    So far, he's earned it.

Michael Bennett

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    I really don't know what to make of Michael Bennett because I haven't seen Taiwan Jones yet. They got Jones in the third round, so if he's halfway decent, I believe Bennett will have to give up his playbook.

    Rock Cartwright pretty much gives the Raiders the same thing Bennett does to add to his special teams play. Michael Bush is set to go with Darren McFadden and Jones has been added for some backup explosion.

    Bennett is the odd man out if Jones can handle it at the NFL level.

    If Bennett stays, I'm looking for Bush to be traded soon.

    That's not very likely though.

Overview

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    After just one preseason game, these are the men of note the I see as being on the roster bubble. Receiver, running back, and tight end are crowded, while the Raiders are looking for more corners and offensive lineman.

    As far as corner and offensive line goes, it could be a matter of Joe Porter, Chimdi Chekwa, and Bruce Campbell coming back. I keep hearing rumors about Lofa Tatupu coming to Raider Nation, so that makes me wonder if an outside linebacker of note will be added to this list.

    One thing I will say about the offensive line is it already looks better than it did last year. I'm really hoping to have some good things to say about athletic specimen Campbell at guard or tackle upon his return.

    The same goes for Porter and Chekwa.

    Nnamdi Asomugha's departure means less depth, as well as losing the best corner in football. Saturday's game against the 49ers will give us an even better idea of where the Raiders are. 

    Hopefully, everyone except for McFadden plays.

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