The Oakland Raiders will play their fourth and final preseason game of the year on Thursday and soon thereafter, make the difficult decisions necessary to get the roster from 90 men to 53 men.
I did a 53 man roster projection last week and will do another after Thursday night’s game. But for now, let’s take a look at potential surprises when cut day rolls around.
These are guys who are on the edge of either being cut or making the team despite expectations to the contrary:
Despite being a third round pick last off-season, Shilique Calhoun could alreadybe on the brink of getting cut. While many focused on how bad Jihad Ward was last season, Calhoun was as bad if not worse. He put on weight in the off-season with hopes it would improve his play but no such luck. He’s still not strong enough to set the edge in the run game and still not quick enough to be a speed rusher in the pass game. Just in case, Calhoun was given a ton of snaps with the first team in week three and came away with nothing to show for it. He was absolutely terrible and that may have been the final straw.
There are many who believe the Raiders will only keep two quarterbacks on the roster this season. If that’s the case, Manuel will be the odd man out. Connor Cook is still seen as a project that the Raiders wont want to give up on just yet. Meanwhile after a strong showing in week one of the preseason, Manuel hasn’t done much to impress or solidify his roster spot. I think it’s still likely the Raiders keep three quarterbacks but if they don’t, Manuel is the one who gets cut. While he has looked better than Cook in the preseason, the difference is negligible and Cook has more potential for value in the future than Manuel.
Yup, he’s still on the roster. Surprising, right? Heeney has been injured and as such has been the forgotten man this offseason. After a terrible start to last season, Heeney got hurt and missed the rest of the year. This was good in the eyes of most Raiders fans as Heeney was nothing more than a liability. Being hurt, there’s always a chance that Reggie McKenzie will use the injured reserve to maintain the Raiders rights to Heeney, but given the influx of new talent, he could also just decide it’s time to part ways with the linebacker and let him try to latch on with another team. Given his love for the injured reserve, I feel like there’s a good chance McKenzie makes use of it once again, but Heeney is far from being safe.
SURPRISE ROSTER SPOTS
Reggie McKenzie love his undrafted free agents and this year, the Raiders may be adding two of them to the final roster, LaTroy Lewis and Nicholas Morrow.
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