The preparation for the 2009 NFL regular season for the Oakland Raiders and the rest of the NFL was well underway yesterday when all 32 teams brought their rosters to the 53-man limit.
For the Raiders there were a few mild surprises but nothing shocking and the final product, (which will get clearer over the next couple of days) is fairly close to what we all expected. The Raiders, who will hold a practice today with the trimmed down roster, will be very busy through Tuesday putting the finishing touches on their roster before the team reassembles on Wednesday to practice for the season opener.
The Raiders will be active filling out their practice squad and searching the waiver wire for the more than 700 available players who could still be a fit for the 53.
Looking at the 53-man roster as it stands now, there are areas of strength and solid depth and there are some weak and very thin positions. the strongest area on the team is unquestionably running back. Keeping Rankin really was no surprise as he proved himself worthy and is too young and talented to part with. The fact that he can help on special teams, including kick return duties only helps. Whether or not Rankin's inclusion on the 53-man roster spells the end of Justin Fargas' Raiders career is uncertain. The Raiders are going to be a "running team", so it makes sense that they will need to make sure that they have plenty of depth at that position, particularly due to Fargas' fragility.
Next, will the Raiders be on the look for another offensive tackle? The answer to that will probably lays in the belief of whether or not Khalif Barnes will be able to play the right tackle position.
Will the Raiders try to claim a defensive tackle? I think the Raiders got much more than they expected from Desmond Bryant and William Joseph during camp, so the question is, is there anybody out there now that will be better for the Raiders than those two?
As much as the running back position is the team's strength, the linebacker position is its weakest. Even when Kirk comes back, this position has serious depth issues. At a minimum, the Raiders must sign a linebacker to the practice squad that can be activated if the situation calls for it.
At corner back, I'll I can say is let's pray that neither Nnamdi or CJ are ever injured for an extended period of time. An upgrade for depth is a must for that position.
Finally, when looking at the roster as it is now, it is clear that the Raiders will not carry 7 wide receivers. Todd Watkins is a goner as soon as the Raiders find a player who could help at one of the above discussed positions.
Here's a look at the Raiders 53-man roster as it stands now:
What do you think of the Raiders 53-man roster now and who, if anybody do you think they will add to it?