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Analyzing Raiders initial 53-man roster

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Ezra Shaw

The Raiders announced their cuts to meet the 53-man roster. But as we know, these may be called "final" but they are anything but final. Last year the Raiders made ten transactions between the initial 53-man roster and the regular season opener.

Here is that roster:

TE Ausberry, David
T Barnes, Khalif
OL Bergstrom, Tony
G Boothe, Kevin
SS Branch, Tyvon
CB Brown, Tarell
LB Burnett, Kaelin
OLB Burris, Miles
WR Butler, Brice
QB Carr, Derek
CB Carrie, TJ
CB Chekwa, Chimdi
LS Condo, Jon
S Dowling, Jonathan
DT Ellis, Justin
DE Harris, Shelby
WR Holmes, Andre
T Howard, Austin
G Jackson, Gabe
K Janikowski, Sebastian
RB Jones-Drew, Maurice
WR Jones, James
CB Jones, Taiwan
P King, Marquette
TE Leonhardt, Brian
LB Mack, Khalil
LB Maiava, Kaluka
T McCants, Matt
RB McFadden, Darren
DT McGee, Stacy
CB McGill, Keith
QB McGloin, Matt
WR Moore, Denarius
LB Moore, Sio
RB Murray, Latavius
FB Olawale, Jamize
T Penn, Donald
FB Reece, Marcel
TE Rivera, Mychal
LB Roach, Nick
CB Rogers, Carlos
QB Schaub, Matt
DT Sims, Pat
DL Smith, Antonio
WR Streater, Rod
CB Thorpe, Neiko
DE Tuck, Justin
T Watson, Menelik
DE Wilson, C.J.
C Wisniewski, Stefen
DE Woodley, LaMarr
FS Woodson, Charles
FS Young, Usama

This roster gives the team good numbers at each position:

Quarterback - 3
Running back - 3
Fullback - 2
Wide receiver - 5
Tight end - 3
Offensive line - 9
Defensive line - 8
Linebacker - 6
Cornerback - 7
Safety - 4
Specialists - 3

The defensive backfield seems like a lot but it's because Taiwan Jones is technically a cornerback though he plays primarily special teams. T.J. Carrie also is the team's primary punt returner. Usually the position that holds the special teams aces will have a few more players.

In my roster cutdown prediction, I had two more players not making the team than were required. That's because I have an incling the team will be adding a couple players via waiver wire.

The two players who are currently on the roster who I didn't have are Tony Bergstrom and Jonathan Dowling.

Keeping Bergstrom gives the Raiders more offensive linemen than necessary so he is on shaky ground to remain on the team should they find a player they want to add for depth elsewhere or special teams play.

Dowling has struggled mightily this preseason. The Raiders have given him the position of strong safety but he is very much a free safety and that is where I think he is destined to land. He is not ready to play any safety position in the NFL right now. I see the team picking up a strong safety on the waiver wire, releasing Dowling, and placing him on the practice squad to spend a year acclimating to the NFL and bulking up a bit. Then he can return next season to give it another shot.

There weren't any really surprising cuts so keeping Bergstrom for the time being is wise. If released after the first round of waiver claims, he is more likely not to be claimed. And with the new rules for the two additional practice squad spots, he is eligible to take one of them. He would be valuable to stash as insurance this season.

David Ausberry is supposed to be back at practice this week which would mean he could be ready for the opener or at least ready very soon. If he isn't, he could go on partial season injured reserve which would make tight end a priority for the waiver wire.

The other position the team could look at is linebacker. Kaelin Burnett is currently the backup strong side linebacker. He played very well this off-season but he is deployed mainly on special teams which could have them looking around to see if anyone is out there worth a look.

Others who were on the bubble and made it through were seventh round pick Shelby Harris, cornberback Neiko Thorpe, wide receiver Andre Holmes, wide receiver Brice Butler, defensive lineman C.J. Wilson, and offensive guard/center Kevin Boothe.