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Evaluating the Raiders initial 53-man roster

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NFL: Oakland Raiders-OTA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Last Saturday Raiders fans saw the Oakland roster trimmed down from 90 players to 53 in preparation for the regular season. There were some early shenanigans that included a brief period of 4 quarterbacks and only 4 linebackers. However Nathan Peterman and rookie Isaiah Johnson were placed on injured reserve allowing for a few last minute signings to bring roster numbers back to normal numbers across every position group.

In order to prepare the Silver & Black Pride readers for the upcoming season, let’s take a closer look at the active roster and evaluate the players who will be suiting up as Raiders this season.

Rating scale

This scale will be used to categorize each Raiders player on offense and defense. Each players name will be highlighted in the color corresponding to their rating. These ratings have been informed by film study. No outside service such as Pro Football Focus or Football Outsiders have been referenced in the writing of this article.

Evaluating the roster

Takeaways

The talent on offense is vastly better than on defense. Derek Carr should be back on track with the improvements that have been made everywhere on offense.

The offense boasts two elite NFL players, Rodney Hudson and Antonio Brown. Each have been well regarded as among the best at their position for several years. Not many teams have two elite players.

The starting offensive line when Jackson returns from injury should be the strength of this team. The lowest rated player is Kolton Miller just a year removed from being a first round draft pick. This line has to be one of the best Tom Cable has ever coached, no more excuses.

Tight end is the biggest question mark on offense. Waller has all the potential in the world but has yet to show it as an NFL tight end. Moreau is just a rookie and Carrier has only been a spot player in the NFL. Not a lot of film available to evaluate this position.

Defense has more talent than last year but the depth is the real concern. Big second year jumps from Maurice Hurst and Arden Key should benefit this side of the ball but we have to see it first before assuming they will be better in year 2.

Vontaze Burfict has finished each of the last 5 seasons hurt and has only played a full 16 games once in his career. Not much talent at linebacker behind him, this position continues to be a sore spot on this roster.

The secondary should be the most improved position group on defense with the arrival of Lamarcus Joyner and the ascension of Gareon Conley. Joyner is a multi-faceted defensive back who gives this defense a much needed edge against passing offenses. Conley turned into a shutdown corner in the back stretch of 2018.