Some positions and players at that position are pretty much settled. For instance, quarterback is set. It's Matt Schaub, Derek Carr, and Matt McGloin just as it has been most of the off-season. Most other positions are not so settled. Here are the players who will still be playing for a spot on this team tonight when the Raiders face the Packers.
One of the better battles in camp. Murray has seemed to have the third running back spot locked up all camp, but Sheets and Stewart have also looked good at times. The battle at kick returner between Murray and Sheets adds another wrinkle. Stewart is known for playing well on special teams. Atkinson has the fans rooting for him as a second generation Raider, but practice squad is as much as he can hope for in this competition.
The top four spots looked to be locked up, leaving one last spot. This spot is really between Butler, Little, and Criner. Butler has looked the best this preseason of the two, but Criner and Little can't be counted out. Little provides intriguing game-breaking abilities and Criner is a former fifth round pick who has hung around for two seasons for a reason - Namely he can catch like fly paper. His issue is getting open in the first place. Jenkins is a former college quarterback who made the team last season as a return man and reserve receiver. Seth Roberts has looked impressive in camp but could use some time to add muscle to his frame. Mike Davis put up fantastic numbers in college but has not stood out.
Another position with just one spot open. None of these three are guaranteed to get that open spot because the Raiders could ultimately decide to go with a tight end on the waiver wire. Murphy and Simonson are both undrafted rookies. Auffrey was signed recently to add depth at the position due to injuries to David Ausberry and Nick Kasa. One of these three will have a chance to show the team they need not bring in anyone else. No better time than tonight against the Packers.
The main competitors here arer Boothe and Bergstrom. They are in a heated battle for the backup center/guard spot. The one who wins, gets a roster spot. The other play could see his walking papers. Bergstrom was the new regime's very first draft pick. He couldn't make an impact as a rookie and was out with injury last season. Boothe was signed as a veteran free agent. Mady was an undrafted free agent who was on the practice squad last season and was called up for a few games to fill in at guard.
Cornell and McCants both played some games for the Raiders last season. McCants actually looked pretty good at right tackle in the few games he played in. Cornell signed and cut several times and was used as insurance on game day. Cleary was a former undrafted free agent who was injured all last season. Kistler and Ladson are undrafted rookies who are hoping to stick around on the practice squad.
Crawford is a former fifth round pick, one of the first draft picks by the new regime. He has yet to take the next step in his development and is very much in a fight for his roster spot. Harris is one of the tea's seventh round picks and has shown well in limited action this preseason. But Dennis Allen had to get on him for his practice habits the following week, so he is no lock. Robinson won a roster spot ahead of last year's seventh round pick, David Bass, but has yet to do much against anyone above third team competition. Wilson was signed as a free agent this off-season as a rotational run stopper.
McGee has been the team's hopeful draft gem since they chose him in the sixth round last year. He has had a club on his hand all training camp and preseason which has limited his performance. Meanwhile Lumpkin and Troup have both made solid cases in their own rite. Only one spot is available and it's a good battle between these three for that spot.
There is basically one spot available at linebacker. That is unless the team carries an extra guy just for special teams. Burnett has been a special teams standout for the Raiders the past few seasons. He has shown some previously unseen linebacker skills this off-season to go along with his special teams abilities. Carlos Fields and Bojay Filimoeatu have both made some plays in preseason as undrafted rookies. Cole has some linebacker experience, having been on the Rams for the 2011-12 seasons.
Putting Keith McGill on this list might seem silly since he was a fourth round pick. But let's not forget the Raiders cut a fourth round pick just last year (Tyler Wilson) so they're not afraid to do it. There is a tough race going at the cornerback position for the Raiders and McGill has been outplayed by fellow rookie, TJ Carrie. Chance Casey was the sleeper last year but he has fallen behind this year and his battle is steep. Watson has looked good at times but can hope for no better than the practice squad.
There is one spot available and none of these three has jumped up to take it. Dowling is the draft pick so it would seem he has the edge but I don't think that will matter all that much. He was the Raiders final seventh rounder and the team cut their final pick last year too (David Bass) in favor of an undrafted player. Asante has some experience and while he made some mistakes in his debut last Friday, he also made some good plays and showed some promise. Ross was terrible last season but the coaches liked him enough to start him. God knows why but clearly he can't be counted out in this battle.
More from sbnation.com:
- Raiders bust JaMarcus Russell appears in Dish Network Commercial
- DJ Hayden could be headed to regular season PUP list
- NFL practice squads raised to ten players, new eligibility rules
- Raiders re-sign K Goessling, waive/injured safety Deering
- Raiders vs Packers preview: Live blog chat with Acme Packing Company
- Raiders injury update: Day after sporting walking boot, Marcel Reece returns to practice