We are a day away from the final roster cutdown day. And with that in mind, here is how I see the Raiders 53-man roster shaking out once the cuts are announced.
Out: Matt McGloin
Analysis: Deciding between Tyler Wilson and Matt McGloin was incredibly difficult. McGloin has clearly outplayed Wilson thus far. But do the Raiders take the risk of Wilson turning it around after a rough start or do they give up on him so quickly in favor of the gritty McGloin? If it were me, I'd say go McGloin. We have little precedence to show how attached this new regime is to their draft picks but I am leaning toward them giving Wilson the nod. McGloin has a future either way.
Analysis: The only surprise here was Latavius Murray going on injured reserve. He would have made the roster but instead it will be Jeremy Stewart.
Analysis: This is how camp shook out. Jenkins continued to show great promise with tremendous upside both as a receiver and in the return game. I see him going to the practice squad and if Jacoby Ford gets injured, he could get the call.
Out: Richard Gordon, Brian Leonhardt
Analysis: The toughest position to predict. Hard to imagine the Raiders cutting either of their rookies as they seem to like both of them. If they cut one, I think it's Rivera due to his blocking deficiencies and Kasa's upside. Keeping four tight ends is not a big deal, really, especially with Ausberry injured and uncertain for the start of the season. Mastrud won the competition between he and Gordon from what I've seen.
Analysis: Some would say keeping eight offensive linemen is too many. I simply can't see it any other way. The one guy who has to worry most is Mike Brisiel. He has a good sized contract which he has not lived up to. None of the guards have looked great, so it's a tough call.
Analysis: Again, this is a case of how attached to their draft picks is this staff? At defensive tackle, it's been pretty bad with none of the backups stepping forward to claim a spot. Bilukidi and McGee have both looked unimpressive. Baker is the only one who has shown some fight in him. It wouldn't surprise me to see the team pick up a couple defensive tackles on waivers and change this group altogether. Ryan Robinson has been quite good but the team is already looking like they're keeping five defensive ends so they'll likely hope he makes it through waivers to place him on the practice squad.
Analysis: No real surprises here. Kaelin Burnett stays because of his special teams play. Chase Thomas just arrived recently and will be placed on the practice squad due to his familiarity with Tarver and his potential in his scheme.
Analysis: Reggie Smith showed up in the Seattle game but his fate was already sealed. Ross has outplayed him this preseason overall and Dennis Allen likes him as the backup strong safety.
Analysis: Taiwan Jones' addition is the news of this group. Every team has roster spots for special teamers and that is the case here. He is great in coverage and can return kicks if called upon. He has also shown some great improvements as a corner, so there's that.
Analysis: King has beaten out Kluwe when judging based on punts alone. He has been better and more consistent. Plus, the potential King has might just be too much to pass on. Guys like Kluwe will be around should King fail. It's hard to cut him and risk watching him reach his full potential elsewhere. Al Davis loved great punters. Raiders take a page out of his book and take a chance on King.
RB Deonte Williams
WR Greg Jenkins
TE Brian Leonhardt
C Andrew Robiskie
DE Ryan Robinson
DT Stacy McGee
LB Chase Thomas
CB Chance Casey
Analysis: This is actually a pretty solid looking practice squad. Some great potential here. Jenkins, Robinson, Thomas, and Casey in particular. Then there's the legend player in Robiskie who works his tail off to stay a part of the organization his dad coached with for so many years in the 80's and 90's.
The final 53-man roster cutdown will happen at 3pm Pacific Time on Saturday. These predictions are of the players that will initially make the squad. I fully expect the Raiders to add and cut more players after the cutdown day as they look to improve their overall depth. They did as much last season and some of those players are still on the roster.