By Ryan Ratty @RyanRattyNFL on August 25, 2014
Dennis Allen will be on a short leash in 2014. The Oakland Raiders are in a competitive division, but there are some expectations for this team in 2014. If this team is not significantly better, Allen will be out of a job and the Raiders will be searching for a coach by the end of the 2014 season. Here are my predictions for the final 53-man roster.
Matt Schaub and Derek Carr have been in a constant competition for the starting quarterback spot. That being said, both will make the roster and so will Matt McGloin. All three have had their moments in the preseason. Oakland fans want Carr to start, but it may not be a good idea to throw the rookie into the fire just yet.
The Raiders signed Maurice Jones-Drew to pair with Darren McFadden in the backfield. If this pair can stay healthy, they have the ability to be one of the best duos in the NFL. Unfortunately, both are injury-prone players. Behind Jones-Drew and McFadden are Latavius Murray and Marcel Reece. Murray is a player who could surprise a lot of people, while Reece is considered one of the best fullbacks in the NFL.
The Raiders have had plenty of opportunities for receivers to make an impact on this team. I'm not a huge fan of Denarius Moore, but there is no denying the fact that he is a solid receiver for this team. James Jones and Andre Holmes are likely the starters in this group with Moore, Greg Little and Rod Streater backing them up. Brice Butler is also a nice home run hitter for this offense.
Mychal Rivera emerged last year as a playmaker for this offense. That should continue in 2014 as Rivera should have a starting job in place by now. David Ausberry is also a nice versatile weapon who can line up across the field. Nick Kasa is injured at the moment, but he is a nice option for a blocking tight end.
The Raiders made an emphasis to improve the offensive line over the offseason, and they did just that by bringing in Donald Penn and Austin Howard. The Raiders will also be lining up second-year player Menelik Watson at the right tackle position. Stefen Wisniewski is one of the best centers in the league and Gabe Jackson will also be a nice piece who can play across the offensive line. It wouldn't surprise me if Jackson started at left guard.
The Raiders' defense is new and improved in comparison to the ones they have fielded over the past few years. By bringing in Justin Tuck, Andre Smith and LaMarr Woodley, this defensive line will be able to generate pressure and that will make it easier for the secondary. Shelby Harris is a nice rotational guy and Justin Ellis will be a solid player after he gets coached up.
In Oakland's 4-3, the linebackers are extremely important. Miles Burris will be playing a huge role this season after the injury to Sio Moore. Nick Roach played excellent in 2013, and he will need to continue that as the Raiders' MIKE linebacker. Khalil Mack is a player who has been turning heads at the weak-side linebacker position. Mack can simply do it all. Kaelin Burnett and Kaluka Maiava will be nice bench players.
The Raiders have made it clear that they want to upgrade the secondary. After drafting D.J. Hayden in the first round last year and signing Carlos Rogers in free agency, the Raiders have two solid cornerbacks next to their starting safeties in Charles Woodson and Tyvon Branch. Keith McGill and Tarell Brown are also solid cornerbacks, but both need more time and coaching. Jonathan Dowling is a nice rookie who can play across this secondary.
Sebastian Janikowski has been a mainstay in Oakland for years and, punter Marquette King isn't too bad at his job either. Why change a thing with these two? Jon Condo is a solid long snapper, and Taiwan Jones is a quick returner who can take it to the house at any given time.
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