Oakland Raiders' Players of Interest for the Practice Squad

Jeff LittleSenior Writer IAugust 31, 2008

The 53-man roster is set, for now. However, a few moves still could be made to help improve the team for now and the future.

The Raiders could sign FB/TE/H-Back Marcel Reece and RB Louis Rankin to the practice squad, which would give them time to develop both players.

Here are a few players that are good candidates for the practice squad who could also challenge for a roster spot.

DT Nick Hayden:
6’4” 305 lbs. (2008 sixth-round pick of the Panthers)
He is an all-out hustler, a true run-stuffing lineman. He has excellent size for the position and plays with good technique and leverage. He would be a great player to develop.

OG Robert Felton: 6’4” 313 lbs. (2008 Bills' undrafted free agent)
He was a three-year starting tackle for Arkansas. He is a versatile player that has experience playing both tackle and guard. He has a thick frame and long arms. He has developed into a physical drive blocker best suited for guard.

He has a strong hand punch and creates movement off the snap, working to open running lanes. He is an excellent run blocker that can be seen doing a solid job in most of Darren McFadden’s highlights. This would be a great player to develop.

OG/OT Pedro Sosa: 6’4” 299 lbs. (2008 Dolphins' undrafted free agent)
He is a player that has good initial quickness off the snap. He is blessed with the necessary size, quickness, and overall athleticism to be effective in a zone-blocking scheme.

He makes the initial block and gets to the second level. He does show explosiveness as a run blocker. He has the lateral agility and balance to mirror pass rushers. He isn’t dominant, but he makes up for it with quickness, balance, and surprising power.

FB Lousaka Polite: 6’0” 242 lbs. (2004 Cowboys' undrafted free agent)
He is a strong, hammer-type lead blocker that can play special teams.

LB Antwan Applewhite: 6’3” 246 lbs. (2007 Chargers' undrafted free agent)
Fast, undersized defensive end who projects to linebacker at the next level. Quick off the snap, immediately alters his angle of attack, and displays speed in every direction.
He loses little momentum when he must change direction. He shows abilities backpedaling off the line and playing in space. Reads the action and does not bite on ball fakes.
He is best described as a fleet-footed athlete that can make plays all over the field. He has excellent size for the position and would be an excellent player to develop for now and the future.

DT Dre Moore:
6’4” 307 lbs. (2008 fourth-round pick of the Buccaneers)
He is massive and shows the strength to be dominant. He does a good job of occupying two gaps when playing with good leverage.
He has a habit of jolting offensive linemen backwards and drives them into the quarterback. He hogs gaps and shuts down the interior running game. He shows a lot of promise and would be an excellent player to develop for now and the future.

The moves mentioned would provide the team with two defensive tackles, three versatile offensive linemen, and a linebacker to develop. These players would add much-needed depth to the team and also push LT Mario Henderson, RT Cornell Green, and SLB Ricky Brown for playing time.

Depending on how fast the players develop, the team won’t have to spend as many draft choices on the DT, LB, and offensive-tackle positions in 2009.

All of the players mentioned need time to develop into solid all-around players, with the exception of FB Lousaka Polite, who has been in the league for three years. The Raiders could also sign late free-agent pickup Luke Lawton to the practice squad as well.
It appears that the coaching staff is looking for the right fullback to replace Oren O'Neal and have yet to find that player.

All of the players mentioned fit the team profile of talented young players with a hunger to improve. This is being written prior to the Raiders' selecting the players for their practice squad, which could simply be seven or eight players recently cut to get down to the league mandated 53.

It can be referred to as a waiver-wire wishlist, but this group would provide far more depth now and in the future.