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2014 53-Man Roster Prediction (Final)

Quarterbacks (3):Matt Schaub*, Derek Carr, Matt McGloin

Backs (5): Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, Latavius Murray, Jamize Olawale, FB Marcel Reece

Wide Receivers (6): Rod Streater, James Jones, Denarius Moore, Andre Holmes, Greg Little, Brice Butler

Tight Ends (3): TE David Ausberry, MTE Mychal Rivera, BTE Jake Murphy

Offensive Line (8): LT Donald Penn, RG Gabe Jackson, C Stefen Wisniewski, RG Austin Howard, RT Menelik Watson, G/C Kevin Boothe, G/T Khalif Barnes, OT Matt McCants

Defensive Line (8): DE Justin Tuck, DE LaMarr Woodley, DT Pat Sims, DT Antonio Smith, DE Shelby Harris, DE C.J. Wilson, DT Justin Ellis, DT Stacy McGee

Linebackers (6): SLB Khalil Mack, MLB Nick Roach*, OLB Sio Moore*, WLB Miles Burris, MLB Kaluka Maiava, OLB Kaelin Burnett

Cornerbacks (6): Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers, TJ Carrie, Neiko Thorpe, Keith McGill, Chimdi Chekwa*

Safeties (4): FS Charles Woodson, SS Tyvon Branch, FS Usama Young, S Jonathan Dowling

Specialists (4): K Sebastian Janikowski, P Marquette King…

Reggie McKenzie's Seminal Moment

When Reggie McKenzie was hired in January 2012, the Raiders had a myriad of salary cap issues, a dearth of draft picks and no elite players. Nearly two and half years later, two of those three issues have been alleviated, but the most important remains; the Raiders have no elite players.

Most look at the Raiders barren cupboard of talent as an indictment against McKenzie, which to a degree is foolish. Team building is about trade-offs. Pre-McKenzie, Al Davis traded in continuity, long-term stability and salary cap flexibility year after year in his futile attempts to win now. He signed mediocre talent to mega-deals and continually swung and missed on high draft picks. His failure had significant long-term ramifications and everybody knew it. When he passed away, Hue Jackson ascended to power and traded 843 draft picks for Carson Palmer, who came fully equipped with pick-sixes aplenty and yet another terrible contract.

The pre-McKenzie Raiders were kind of like hoarders. Their house was …

Stop Complaining About the 2014 Schedule

Believe it or not, the NFL did the Raiders a favor with the 2014 schedule. Sure, it's tough schedule, but the opponents are predetermined. The order matters, but the NFL did everything they could to make it easier on the Raiders.

In Week 1, the Raiders travel to the eastern time zone to face the Jets. There was no way to avoid the travel, but playing that game in Week 1 eliminates some of the issues with the early start on the east coast. The Raiders can even get to the east coast a day early if they want. The Raiders have to travel to the east coast, but doing so in Week 1 or after a bye is the ideal time to do it.

The Raiders then come home and play what was the worst team in the league last year. Basically, the Raiders got the easiest home opponent on their schedule for their home opener. If the travel hurt the Raiders, at least they will have had a chance to get a win at home.

In Week 3, the Raiders head back to the east coast to play the Patriots. It's brutal travel, but it …

2014 NFL Draft Prospects: Likes and Dislikes

Thanks to the great people at Draft Breakdown, I've been able to watch cutups of a lot of draft prospects over the last two years. One thing that has always bothered me is having to trust rankings and player opinions of other people. I don't regularly watch college football, but even if I did, I couldn't possible watch enough to evaluate draft prospects. A guy might jump off the screen, but otherwise you are missing a lot. There is also a big difference between focusing on a single player and watching a game—different things matter.

Here is a list of guys I liked a lot last year:

Star Lotulelei - My favorite player in the draft. The whole package.
Barkevious Mingo - My favorite pass-rusher. Flexibility with room to improve.
Sheldon Richardson - Liked him almost as much as Lotulelei. Impact player on every down in college.
D.J. Hayden - Didn't get to watch him until late like most people, but he and Xavier Rhodes were 1A/1B at the cornerback position to me. Don't give up…

Raiders Salary Cap Floor Calculations 2013-2016

The NFL requires every team to spend 89% of the salary cap in cash over a four-year period from 2013-2016. The Raiders spend just $63.4 million in cash last season, leaving a $46.1 million deficit to makeup over the next three years.

This can be made up by giving large signing bonuses or roster bonuses to free agents in any of the next three seasons. However, signing bonuses are prorated and would create dead money if that player is released in the future.

The better way to do things is use the available funds to give large roster bonuses, which is exactly what the Raiders are doing. Instead of trying to make up the cash deficit in one year by giving out large signing bonuses, it makes more sense to chip away at it a little bit every year. General manager Reggie McKenzie has been described as a slow and methodical man, so this is likely the route he will go.

Below is a chart that included the current cash the Raiders have devoted to the roster through 2016 according to overthecap.com. Th…

Just For Fun - Raiders 2014 Free Agency in Pictures

[caption id="attachment_2965" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Reggie "Lil Wayne" McKenzie[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2966" align="aligncenter" width="300"] It's "Breaking Bad" for the Raiders[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1023"] Al's Millions[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="456"] Reggie's Poker Face[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Scrooge McKenzie[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="599"] World Series of Reggie[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Crabby McKenzie[/caption]