Saturday, May 19, 2007

Projected 53 Man Roster & Cuts

Just for fun and with special inspiration from my Raider brother "Poke" in Richmond California, I decided to predict our final 53 man roster. I realize that there are many factors that will shape and shift the final roster. Some of these factors are injuries, contracts/cap considerations, June cuts/acquisitions, player performance in training camp, and last but not least, Head Coach Kiffin's vision for the Raiders. Also, please note this list is not indicative of any depth chart ranking for each position. Here's Calico Jack's projected final 53 man roster:

QB (3)
01 - JaMarcus Russell
>>> The Nation's eyes are upon our #1 pick. 1st start: Game 5 at San Diego immediately following the bye week.
02 - Andrew Walter >>> The Walter apologists will need to be content with Andrew holding a clipboard the entire year.
03 - Josh McCown >>> Good early feedback on McCown in mini camp. Will hold down the fort for Russell in the early part of the season.

RB (4)
04 - LaMont Jordan >>> Enough talk from LaMont. If Bush is healthy I would be happy to see LaMont phased out in 07 and cut prior to 08.
05 - Dominic Rhodes >>> Versatile & complimentary back who Kiffin should ride when hot.
06 - Justin Fargas >>> Huggy Bear plays with the heart of a lion plus he is a solid Special Teams contributor.
07 - Michael Bush >>> The sky is the limit for this monster back. If healthy, Kiffin would have his "Thunder" (Bush) & "Lightning" (Rhodes).

FB (2)
08 - Justin Griffith >>> Key free agent acquisition to strengthen the rushing attack with his lead blocking skills.
09 – Orenthal O’Neil >>> True, pure throwback full back to back up Griffith; could be used in some goal line, short yardage packages.

WR (6)
10 - Jerry Porter >>> New jersey number (#81) & best opportunity to be a #1 type WR. I have high hopes and big expectations for JP.
11 - Ronald Curry >>> The most productive, team first player on the entire offense. With increased snaps, Curry should set career highs in receptions, yards, and TDs.
12 – Doug Gabriel >>> Big play ability and a potential deep strike favortie for Russell.
13 – Mike Williams >>> Big Mike Williams aka BMW has been given his best and possibly last chance to excel in the NFL. Kiffin believes in BMW and has a strong working relationship with him from their days together at USC
14 Travis Taylor >>> With this week's signing of Travis Taylor (1 year @ $720k) I would surmise that Will Buchanon will be designated to the Raiders practice squad.
XX – Will Buchanon >>> My wild card to make the final roster. Buchanon is raw but has all of the tools to become a star. Last year Buchanon was the Raiders best training camp performer and shined in the early exhibition season.
15 – Jonny Lee Higggins >>> A football player with track speed. Exciting prospect who might take a crack at punt returning duties.

TE (3)
16 - Zach Miller
>>> Pencil Zach in to start from day 1. Uncanny similarities to Todd Heap.
17 – Tony Stewart >>> Best pure blocking TE on the roster. Will contribute in 2 TE sets.
18 - John Madsen >>> Still a developmental prospect being converted from WR to TE. Above average hands and route running skills but a work in progress in terms of inline blocking.

OL (9)
19 - Robert Gallery >>> This is the defining year in Gallery's career. There is no grey area. He will either become a good OT under Cable's leadership or a #2 pick "bust"
20 – Barry Sims >>> Pencil in as starting LT with draftee Henderson taking his spot in 08.
21 – Cooper Carlisle >>> Another key free agent acquisition who will strengthen the interior line with his familiarity with Cable's zone blocking scheme.
22 - Jeremy Newberry >>> If healthy, this 3 time All Pro's leadership, toughness, line calling, and solid QB/C snap exchanges will edge out Grove for starting center.
23 - Paul McQuistan >>> McNasty's career development continues. Solid OG/OT back up.
24 – Kevin Boothe >>> The best OL performer of last year will anchor one of the OG spots.
25 - Jake Grove >>> Inconsistent and over powered at times. Might be more suited to play OG
26 – Cornell Green >>> OT depth acquired from Denver.
27 - Mario Henderson >>> Rookie with the athleticism to potentially shine in the new zone blocking scheme of Tom Cable. Steep learning curve but high hopes for 08.

DL (9)
28 - Derrick Burgess >>> 2 seasons with Raiders = 2 Pro Bowl selections. How bout' a hat trick, DBurg?
29 – Terdell Sands >>> Paid the big bucks to start and shoulder the run stuffing load.
30 - Warren Sapp >>> The heart & soul of the Raiders D who is in the best shape of his career. Double digit sacks...mark it down.
31 - Tommy Kelly >>> Should see some action at both DT and DE. A key cog in DLine.
32 – Antaaj Hawthonre >>> Will be counted on to plug the middle and give Sapp a breather.
33 – Kevin Huntley >>> A disruptive force at end who showed more productivity in 1 game than Brayton did in an entire season. Excellent at batting down balls at the line of scrimmage.
34 – Quentin Moses >>> Speed demon rookie who will be rotated with Huntley. Explosive 1st step who should benefit from playing opposite of Burgess.
35 - Jay Richardson >>> Solid contributor at Ohio St. who should see limited action at DE.
36 – Larry Brown >>> Unknown DT; DLine depth/developmental project. (* I would hope the Raiders keep a keen eye on the June 1st waiver wire for a potential DT June 1st cut.)

LB (5)
37 - Kirk Morrison >>> Consistent, reliable playmaker.
38 - Robert Thomas >>> Versatile LB veteran who I give the nod to start over Willimas at SLB.
39 - Thomas Howard >>> Fast charging WLB who is one of the most athletic LBs in the NFL.
40 - Sam Williams >>> Not an instinctive player; does not have a nose for the ball.
41 – Kyle Shotwell >>> Wild card prospect from Div 1AA San Luis Obispo who should contribue right away on Special Teams.

CB (5)
42 - Nnamdi Asomugha >>> Breakout season last year should carry forward into 07.
43 - Fabian Washington >>> Great recovery speed; in line to take the next step in his career progression.
44 - Stanford Routt >>> Nickel back who plays big role vs 3 WR sets.
45 - Chris Carr >>> Dime back and outstanding kick returner.
46 – John Bowie >>> Developmental defensive back who will need to make his mark on Special Teams.

S (5)
47 - Michael Huff >>> Solid, unspectacular rookie campaign at SS. Excellent coverage skills and playmaking ability. Seems to be a better fit at FS.
48 - Eric Frampton >>> Knack for big collisions and thirst to headhunt will make him a key component of the Special Teams coverage units.
49 - Stu Schweigert >>> The QB of the secondary. Good leadership skills and team first attitude. Stu needs to become a better tackler, technique wise, and create more turnovers. His ball hawking skills have been non existent.
50 – Darnell Bing >>> Run stuffing, blitzing, big hitting SS.
51 – Jerrod Cooper >>> Special Teams ace gunner and a fan favorite.

P/K (2)
52 - Shane Lechler >>> Needs to improve upon his placement of punts inside the 20.
53 - Sebastian Janikowski >>> SeaBass' kicking has been sporadic but he is more than capable of being a complete performer in 07.

Cuts: (These scallywags are not good enough to climb aboard Captain Sao or Captain Barbosa's ship)
Josh Booty
Jeff Otis

Zack Crockett
ReShard Lee
Echemandu Adimchinobe

Carlos Francis
Johnathan Holland
Chris McFoy
Johnnie Morant
Alvis Whitted

James Adkisson
Courtney Anderson
Tony Jackson
Fred Wakefield
Randall Williams

Ben Claxton
Jon Condo
Eddie Keele
Chad Slaughter
Adam Treu
Mark Wilson

Tyler Brayton
Bryant McNeal
Josh Shaw

Ricky Brown
Kurt Campbell
Chris Clemons
Isaiah Ekejiuba
Charlton Keith
JJ Milan

Marquise Cole
Kenny Patton
Duane Starks

Hiram Eugene
Chris Johnson
Kris Richard
BJ Ward

Got a bone to pick with my selections? Blast away with your opinions.
"I'm In, Jack!"

Friday, May 04, 2007

Numero Dos

Today is the 1st day of mini-camp and the dawn of a new era in Raider football! An era initially marked a few months ago by the hiring of Head Coach Lane Kiffin and stamped with the drafting of #1 pick JaMarcus Russell.

Unlike past seasons, this year genuinely feels like a new beginning ... a fresh start. A young, energetic, ambitious head coach ready to take on the world. A young, supernova talented QB looking to become a Raider legend in his own "Big Easy" humble way.

So far, so good in the new era. Kiffin has been making all the right moves and saying all the right things to the media and Raider Nation alike. Russell is the cornerstone of the Raiders future long term success, the face of the organization, and the broad shoulders of the franchsie.

By the way .... Russell's #2 jersey went on sale today
at the Raider Image.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Welcome to Our House, JaMarcus

If you haven't seen it yet, check out this post draft video interview between Greg Papa and JRuss (click here). Also, I love the Madden 08 JRuss below but what's up with the bowling shoes?