5 Dark Horse Candidates to Make the Oakland Raiders’ 53-Man Roster

5 Dark Horse Options to Make the Raiders' Roster

Carlos Fields Jr
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While most of us know about the biggest names on the Oakland Raiders’ roster, there are certainly going to be some underrated talents who sneak into the final 53 through impressive performances during training camp and the preseason. These players aren’t always well known, but they are certainly NFL talents worth knowing about.

With that in mind, here are my five dark horse picks to make the Raiders’ 53-man roster.

5. WR Mike Davis

Mike Daivs
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

5. WR Mike Davis

Mike Daivs
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, the Raiders’ wide receiver competition is wide open. While James Jones and Rod Streater are essentially guaranteed roster spots, the rest of the field must prove their worth during training camp and the preseason. Considering Juron Criner and Greg Little are likely to struggle once the pads are on, Davis could swoop in and steal the final spot on the depth chart with a standout preseason performance.

4. RB Kory Sheets

Kory Sheets
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. RB Kory Sheets

Kory Sheets
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

More than likely, the Raiders will keep four running backs on the roster this season. If that’s the case, Sheets stands a good chance of making the roster. Signed away from the CFL this offseason, Sheets saw one snap with the Miami Dolphins in 2009, but appears to have matured while up in Canada. It’s not going to be easy unseating Jeremy Stewart for the final spot, but Sheets has the speed and toughness to be a preseason surprise.

3. FB Karl Williams

Karl Williams
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

3. FB Karl Williams

Karl Williams
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one player worth rooting for in this group, it’s Williams. The Utah product has spent his entire football career proving doubters wrong and could do more of the same with the Raiders. While Marcel Reece is entrenched as the starter, Jamize Olawale is anything but a lock to make the roster. Oakland carried two fullbacks in 2013, and could do the same in 2014 if Williams can outplay Olawale over the next two months.

2. TE Jake Murphy

Jake Murphy
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

2. TE Jake Murphy

Jake Murphy
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders are anything but secure at tight end. David Ausberry is expected to be the starter, but spent all of last year on IR. Mychal Rivera should take another step forward after a strong rookie season, but is more of a receiver than a blocker. Murphy has the strength and footwork to be an effective blocker, and is also an underrated playmaker in the passing game. If he plays well in August, he could edge Brian Leonhardt for the final spot.

1. ILB Carlos Fields Jr.

Carlos Fields Jr
Twitter

1. ILB Carlos Fields Jr.

Carlos Fields Jr
Twitter

Arguably the Raiders’ most underrated undrafted free agent, Fields has quietly begun impressing the coaching staff since signing. The small-school product displays outstanding instincts and understanding of offenses that shows through on film. It’s not going to be easy for the youngster to pass up one out of Nick Roach, Kaluka Maiava and Kevin Burnett, but his potential makes him worth keeping around for Oakland.

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Director of Content for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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