The deep and shallow ends in Oakland (offense)

By Anthony Carroll  |   Thursday, June 22, 2006  |  Comments( 16 )

Oakland Raiders
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Six months into 2006, the Oakland Raiders have remained uncharacteristically quiet. Sans the necessity acquisition of head coach Art Shell or free agent pick ups Aaron Brooks and Lance Johnstone, the Silver and Black have contently upheld a generally unmarked roster. Along with a shipment of rookies via the April draft pool, Oakland has built a roster that runs deep in some positions and dry in others.

Prior to the July 24th Napa training camp kickoff, let's take a look at the deepest and shallowest ends of the Raiders' 2006 offensive roster pool.

10 Ft. - Wide Receiver: Oakland's pre-training camp roster hold's 13 pass-catching bodies. Six of the 13 wide receivers are rookies looking to claw their way onto the final roster, while the other seven hold at least two years of experience wearing the silver and black. Heading into training camp, the top four appear to be Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, Doug Gabriel, and Ronald Curry. However, even beyond the big four, the Raiders possess enough able-bodied receivers to fill another roster. Nine-year vet, Alvis Whitted and 24-year-old Johnnie Morant are among the top of the second-tier options. In any event, Oakland runs deep with tall, fast, and physical wide receiving options.

8 Ft. - Tight End: Over the past several seasons, the tight end role has evolved into an underutilized threat. However, the Raiders still hold nearly every variation of the position applicable. The projected starter, Courtney Anderson, tips the scale at 270 pounds with a 6-7 frame, while the runner up, Randal Williams, measures just 6-3, 220 pounds. Anderson is more likely to receive a pass via an offensive post-up; Williams is more likely to outrun a defender. Adjacent both tight ends sit 32-year-old blocker, O.J. Santiago, offseason acquisition, Marcellus Rivers, and converted wide receiver, James Adkisson. On the outside looking in is undrafted free agent, Derek Miller, who will be facing an uphill battle to make the squad. Ultimately, for a position historically low in output, current input is excessive.

6 Ft. - Offensive Line: You can never have enough men up front. Oakland's offseason roster includes 18 blocking bodies looking to force their way onto the team. As far as the starting five, third-year lineman, Robert Gallery and Jake Grove, are locks up front. Who will be working alongside the youngsters, however, remains a mystery. The top of the residual list includes Barry Sims, Langston Walker, and Brad Badger. Additionally, Weber State rookie, Paul McQuistan, and mammoth backup, Chad Slaughter, may find their way up front in '06. Former Arizona Cardinals starter, Cameron Spikes, and 28-year-old Corey Hulsey will also likely act as serviceable backup options for the 2006 campaign.

4 Ft. - Quarterback: Possessing two starting-material quarterbacks is a one-off for the majority of NFL ball clubs. With offseason acquisition, Aaron Brooks, Oakland has an 82-game starter on their roster. Behind him sit 24-year-old Andrew Walter, who has zero NFL experience but limitless potential that owner Al Davis and head coach Art Shell already hold in high esteem. Beyond Walter is five-year safety net, Marques Tuiasosopo, who has thrown 75 passes in his NFL career. Furthermore, Oakland currently employs two practice-material prospects in 24-year-old Reggie Robertson and 22-year-old Kent Smith. Together, the crew of cannons forms a solid base for Oakland to do business; nevertheless, the 2006 season may roll solely on the wheels of Aaron Brooks.

2 Ft. - Running Back: There are plenty of backfield options on Oakland's roster; however, plenty of the options are less than apt starting alternatives if needed. Beyond LaMont Jordan is a plethora of run of mill halfbacks simply looking to make a name for themselves on the professional plane. Fullback/running back hybrid, Zack Crockett, tops the list of serviceable backups at running back for Oakland, gaining 208 yards in the role last season. Beneath Crockett begins the list of the unproven prospects: Justin Fargas, Rod Smart, DeJuan Green, Joe Hall, J.R. Lemon, Walter Williams, Rashard Lee, and John Paul Foschi. At this point, it's too early to predict individual output; however, if Oakland decides to stay silent throughout free agency, one of the above eight runners may have to run away from the pack.

1 Ft. - Fullback: Since the departure of bloody-headed Jon Ritchie, Oakland's fullback position has struggled immensely. Zack Crockett, at a lean 240 pounds, is a one-sided fullback option made strictly for short-yardage runs. Sitting behind the sledgehammer is Marques Tuiasosopo's brother, Zach, who is the lone runner listed on the Raiders roster as a fullback. Tuiasosopo has zero experience carrying the ball in the NFL, raising a series of questions at the fullback position in Oakland. With a lengthy list of halfbacks on the offseason roster, one could find its way into the small fullback herd.

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Anthony Carroll can be contacted at acarroll@realfootball365.com
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About Anthony Carroll

Anthony Carroll began writing for RealFootball365.com on Sept. 26, 2005, making him one of the longest tenured contributors to the “365” team. As a senior writer, Anthony has taken on the task of delivering original content to the silver and black faithful year round, despite having to deal...
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CommentsComments: 16  |  Sign Up  View all comments
No.1
Florida Raider
09:23 AM
06/22/2006
You forgot defensive tackle, understandable since it is below ground, unfortunetly we are in real trouble at that position. In...
No.2
Rdunn06
09:29 AM
06/22/2006
Don't count out Fargas who won a championship at Usc w/ Carson Palmer. Who knows Tuey is still on the team for some reason right....
No.3
michael
10:00 AM
06/22/2006
My main concern is also with the lack of RB depth. A loss of Jordan would be devastating. However I do remember Art Shell's...
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