Monday, September 1, 2008

Oakland Raiders' Much Needed Roster Additions

The Raiders cut 21 players to reach the league mandated 53 players. Head Coach Lane Kiffin stated “that the roster wasn’t set “; his way of saying that a few changes will be made to the roster.

The first two moves have been re-signing Free Agent Fullback Luke Lawton to a one year deal. This move was big due to the fact that the Oakland Raiders are a running team and to go into the regular season with only one Fullback would’ve been alarming. He effectively replaces injured Fullback Oren O’Neal.

In need of a veteran receiver with game experience the Raiders signed 6’3” 195 lbs. WR Ashlie Lelie to a one year deal. He was recently released by the San Francisco 49ers. He brings a 17.2 yards per catch average to the silver and black. He is a deep threat receiver and former 2002 1st round draft pick on the Denver Broncos.

Both players are being added to the active roster which brings up the obvious question; who do they replace on the active roster?

A couple of other factors come into play here. 1) The Raiders should carry six receivers on the roster. The Raiders are a running team but there will be occasions when the team will run multiple receiver sets. Adding a veteran receiver will help the show the young receivers the ropes and will aid in their development.

2) SLB Robert Thomas, who lost the positional battle to new starter Ricky Brown, is injured. He is receiving starters pay and the last two high salaried non-starters who were in the same position (Greg Biekert and Danny Clark) were released.

My solution would be to release SLB Sam Williams and SS Hiram Eugene. Robert Thomas has earned a roster spot and has been far more productive than Sam Williams. He was behind Robert Thomas and Ricky Brown all of training camp.

He is a good guy and I would thank him for his contributions, and wish him well but his services are no longer needed.

He has been with the team since the 2003 draft and has missed 44 of 80 games since he was the selected as the 83rd player selected in the third round. He was selected over LB Angelo Crowell and LB Bradie James. He has yet to develop in to the player the team envisioned.

Speaking of the draft this is a year in which none of the Raiders draft choices didn’t make the team. The Raiders gave up a second round pick to acquire CB DeAngelo Hall essentially making him a part of the 2008 draft.

WR Arman Shields was placed on the Injury Reserve list due to being injured the majority of training camp but looks to be the surprises of the 2009 training camp.

There are linebackers on the waiver wire that can give the Raiders what Sam Williams has provided at a lower cost.

Speaking of the waiver wire, the team can find an athletic offensive tackle that can take Mario Henderson’s spot which would allow the team to place him on the practice squad and provide time to develop both Henderson and the replacement player.

The reason for Hiram Eugene’s release can be justified by stating there isn’t a need to carry five safeties.

The future of the franchise looks good and it is very exciting to see so many talented young players on the roster. The Raiders have improved their talent and will be much more competitive this year.

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