This year out of Oakland's training camp there's a lot of optimism and promise, but the Raiders are also currently fielding about 80 players in practice. A good deal of them, at least 25, are going to be disappointed.
Here's a look at some players who should be worried about making a spot on the roster.
Well, this one probably won't happen because of the cap hit it would cause; it's just a wish of mine. He was brought in as a veteran leader to help mentor JaMarcus Russell, but he has been more of a sore spot, creating unneeded controversy and whining to the media.
I would prefer him to Garcia as the No. 2; he has done well in practice so far. He actually sees a decent amount of time with the second team offense.
He has done too little with the few opportunities he's been given. I would say he is as good as gone; there's just too much talent ahead of him.
He can play both HB and FB but will still have a hard time making the roster. He excels in short-yardage situations, but so does Michael Bush. Russell will only make the team if he can prove he is a viable option at FB and Oren O'Neal isn't cleared to start the season.
Though he had a few decent games, in my opinion he is the longest shot to even make the practice squad. He will likely be cut due to the talent level ahead of him.
A WR turned FB, like Lawton, Reece boasts an impressive college highlight reel and tremendous physical ability. He is still a project, and how his blocking skills are developing is still in question. He would be a dangerous option coming out of the backfield.
Brought in to add competition to special teams, he is currently doing little to impress as a receiver. Unless he can earn a spot as a returner, he is likely soon to be a free agent.
He is showing a lot of promise as a returner and even as a receiver. He even has the versatility to line up in the backfield and is a real threat on reverses and screens. He has 4.3 speed but is undersized. In my opinion, he has a good chance of making the roster.
Todd Watkins, Jonathan Holland, Shawn Bayes, and Will Franklin
Due to the tremendous amount of competition and lack of versatility via not competing as a returner, their value is pretty low. If any of these guys make the roster, I will be surprised.
He was brought in as a blocking TE to help Zach Miller be more involved in the passing game. He has done little to impress so far in practice, but what do you expect from a blocking TE? He has a fairly good chance of making the roster or at least the practice squad.
He played every game last year only to bring in 11 receptions. Obviously that wasn't enough as the Raiders brought in some competition. He likely will be demoted if not cut this year.
A second-year project player who only played in one game last year, he likely will compete to keep his spot as a practice player in order to further develop.
John Paul Foschi
I've heard little of him; in four years in the NFL he has six receptions. He will likely be the first one cut.
He is coming off of an injury and looking rather rusty in practice. Coupled with the addition of Marcus Johnson, who was brought in to play guard, this may mean McQuistan's days are numbered.
Mark Wilson, James Marten, and Seth Wand
With Khalif Barnes down until early in the season, a space has opened up at tackle. These guys will still have to fight for the last OT spot, even if it does only last until Barnes is healthy.
A tremendously talented kick returner who was cut from the Jets last year due to lack of participation on defense. It looks like history may repeat itself. He doesn't seem to be an operable corner and is struggling to crack top four on the depth chart at that spot.
Also, there's a good deal of competition at returner: Johnnie Lee Higgins, Nick Miller, Samie Parker, and maybe a few others. If one of those guys beats out Miller for his return duty, he is likely cut.
He has been receiving mixed reviews at practice. If he doesn't prove to be a safe bet at least on a rotational basis, he may be cut. To make matters worse, he was offered up as trade bait prior to the draft.
Last year, he made it to the field in a few rare dime packages. It's hard to rate his success because he really didn't do anything, but on the other hand, neither did the receivers he was covering.
He will likely remain on the roster due to having the measurables Al Davis loves: a 6'4'' DB with 4.3 speed who can play safety and corner. He's damn near guaranteed a roster spot or at least a spot on the practice squad.
He's an undersized CB with decent speed and a lot to prove. Of all the DBs, I would say he is the longest shot to make the team.
The guy traded for Randy Moss. As long as he's a Raider, that's probably all he will be known for. The Raiders should cut him solely on that.
There's just too much talent ahead of him to make the roster, at least in my opinion.
An undersized player who was projected to play safety, he boasts impressive athleticism, which he will need if he hopes to make the roster, let alone the practice squad.
As an undrafted rookie DE/DT tweener, he has a lot to prove, not only to the Raiders but also to every team that passed on him. He is performing well in practice, especially against Paul McQuistan. Currently he is one of my favorites to make the roster.
He was brought in as a practice "tempo setter" due to his nonstop motor and because of a history with coach Tom Cable. He has done little to impress and is yet to live up to expectations.
Derrick Gray and Greyson Gunheim
They provided decent depth as situational pass rushers, but that's about it. Likely only one, if either of these two, will make the roster.
He was brought in early in the season last year after the coaching staff figured out you can't run a 4-3 with only three active DTs on the roster. He did little—if anything—on the field last year, but to credit him, it's hard to learn a defense when you're brought in week three.
Regardless, with the competition he has to step it up a lot to make the roster.
Here's a look at my projected roster:
QBs: JaMarcus Russell, Jeff Garcia, Charlie Frye(inactive)
HBs: Michael Bush, Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden
FBs: Lorenzo Neal, Oren O'Neal, Gary Russell (Note: Only two will be active)
TEs: Zach Miller, Brandon Myers, Tony Stewart(inactive)
LT: Mario Henderson, Erik Pears
LG: Robert Gallery, Marcus Johnson
C: Samson Satele, John Wade, Chris Morris(inactive)
RG: Cooper Carlisle, Paul McQuistan (or maybe Jonathan Compas if McQuistan doesn't step it up)
RT: Cornell Green, James Marten (until Barnes returns from injury)
WRs: Chaz Schilens, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, Nick Miller, Javon Walker (it is still unclear whether Walker will start the season on the PUP list)
SS: Tyvon Branch, Mike Mitchell
FS: Hiram Eugene, Mike Huff
CB: Nnamdi Asomugha, Stanford Rout, Chris Johnson, Darrick Brown, Justin Miller (maybe)
MLB: Kirk Morrison, Ricky Brown
SAM: Jon Alston, Slade Norris, Sam Williams
WILL: Thomas Howard, Isaiah Ekejiuba
RDE: Trevor Scott, Jay Richardson
LDE: Greg Ellis, Matt Shaughnessy, Derrick Gray
DT: Tommy Kelly, Desmond Bryant (William Joseph inactive)
DT: Gerard Warren, Terdell Sands
P: Shane Lechler
K: Sebastian Janikowski
LS: Jon Condo
KR Justin Miller
PR Nick Miller (Johnnie Lee Higgins if either Miller is cut)
That's my projected roster; let me know what you think. Tell me if I missed anyone or if there's someone I didn't give the credit they deserved.