This post will take a last look at 3 players who could be on the Raiders’ roster bubble. In the interest of drumming up healthy discussion this post will not include guys like Hood, who many believe will be stashed on the Practice Squad.
Ware is the first of the guys firmly believed to be on the bubble, the reasoning varies depending on how you view the situation. Ware has shown a great deal of potential in the preseason but has also shown why he is still very much a raw talent. The belief is he makes the roster simply because if cut he would be picked up by another team, as it is widely known the Raiders have good depth on their O-line.
Due to the fact that over the last 2 seasons teams have gobbled up almost every single player the Raiders have released, the belief is you can’t put a guy like Ware on the Practice Squad or he’s gone to another team. Tackle is a premium position and Ware has shown he belongs but needs time to develop.
Ware is a behemoth at 6’8″ but needs to put size on his 295 lbs frame, to put it in perspective Donald Penn is listed at 6’5″ and 305 lbs. Ware has 3 inches on him but listed as weighing 10 lbs less, this is not a big deal as they will set him up on a program to get that bulk the right way. As a 7th round selection Ware has a real chance to become a very good tackle and the Raiders have one of the best O-line Guru’s in the game in Mike Tice.
Bottom line is Ware has far too much upside to risk cutting him and losing him to another team. Ware had a rough game vs Dallas, I think he bounces back with a strong game vs the Seahawks and solidifies his spot on the 53.
Calhoun was selected in the 3rd round at number 75 overall and has since day 1 been out shined thoroughly by Undrafted Free Agent James Cowser. Now that’s not necessarily saying he’s horrible because of that fact, Cowser has been a revelation as the 3rd edge option. However Calhoun has not developed or gotten over the bad habits that dropped him to the 3rd round.
The good news is Shilique dedicated himself in the off-season and came in noticeably bigger than his rookie year. Unfortunately that is where the good news ends, as he still is living up to the old knocks on him about not being aggressive enough at the point of attack. This has shown over and over in the preseason as he has lost his edge more times than I care to count.
To add salt to the wound Calhoun was pulled from the game vs Dallas because of poor play only to have his sub LaTroy Lewis come in, and snag a strip fumble out of the air and return it all the way back for a touchdown. Calhoun has easily looked like the worst Strong Side Backer on a team with no depth at the position behind Irvin all preseason. The biggest year of development is supposed to be year 2, unfortunately Calhoun has not shown that’s going to happen.
The fact is he has been so bad that it’s believed that he is not going to make the final 53, if he does that he likely would be cut shortly after if a player comes available the team likes. Unfortunately Calhoun just has not shown the type of growth from year 1 to 2 that you would expect from a 3rd round pick, and being outperformed by UDFA rookie LaTroy Lewis isn’t helping his cause.
Latham came on very strong last year as another one of the gems Reggie McKenzie was able to find as an Undrafted Free Agent. Unfortunately for whatever reason that did not seem to carry over to this year leading Latham to a very uncomfortable spot on the bubble. He has not seen the kind of playing time expected for a player that played well for the team last year, but when he has been on the field Latham has been solid.
Part of the problem is that Hester and Vanderdoes have been very good as rookies coming in and have completely overshadowed Latham as he is primarily a run stopper. Latham became less significant as well because of the unexpected emergence of Justin “Jelly” Ellis who came in to this off-season a man determined to make a difference. Unfortunately for Latham Jelly has been fantastic up to this point in the preseason.
Latham has great upside but for some reason doesn’t seem to have the coaches eyes at this point. This is not necessarily a bad thing as they may be wanting to see him do more, it’s also very possible the coaches are trying to send a message or want to see more consistency from him. The thought here is outside of Jelly the Raiders need a guy like Latham to be a plug in the middle to aid the poor play of the linebackers.
The thinking here is Latham makes the final 53 as part of a very deep and solid defensive line rotation, but this situation bears watching. A strong game by 2nd year player Jihad Ward may be enough to have Del Rio and McKenzie thinking they can free up a roster spot at a position of bigger need like LB and CB. This one could go either way and this last preseason game will be the deciding factor.