With all of the uncertainty in the 2012 offseason, many Oakland Raider fans are wondering how the team will look in 2012. A new OLB, a shuffle of the offensive line and new RB are just a few of the changes that have taken place place so far. And with more moves on the way, it is almost impossible to predict how the roster will exactly look come Week 1 of the 2012-2013 season.
However, I think there are several players who, either new or returning, will really get a chance to contribute and show they can be standout players. Here are three:
1. David Ausberry (TE)
Not a lot has been said about David Ausberry, and at first glance not many people would expect much out of a seventh-round pick, who was shifted positions and got few if any first-team reps last year. However, the 6'4", 233-lb. TE/WR will have plenty of opportunities to show his stuff on the field next year. Ausberry will have a strong chance at starting at TE or at least being a rotational player at that position or at receiver.
The main reason I like him is his height. At 6'4'' and displaying a 36'' vertical jump, Ausberry will be a good target for Carson Palmer, who can toss it up and let Ausberry do the rest and bring it down. He also has good speed, and if he is at TE and matched man-to-man with a linebacker, he could capitalize on the mismatch with good results.
While only time will tell, Ausberry will have a big impact on the offense next season.
2. Aaron Curry (LB)
I know some might disregard my next pick, but hear me out on this one, Raider nation.
Aaron Curry, acquired in a trade from Seattle last season, did a good job at LB for the Raiders after his trade. Many in Seattle considered him a bust, but Curry will capitalize on his fresh start with the Raiders and live up to his potential. Curry, who is more like a battering ram than a finesse coverage linebacker, could contribute and upgrade the dismal run stuffing efforts the Raiders need to improve upon. Curry did well last year in the few games he played, but I think will improve more if given a full offseason and preseason to work with the defense.
Another thing I like is his attitude. He seems dedicated to head coach Dennis Allen and to GM Reggie McKenzie and is working to improve as a player and contribute more to the Raiders.
3. Mike Goodson (RB)
Mike Goodson, the former Carolina Panther acquired in a trade several days ago, has the best chance to show his stuff as a new member of the Raiders, and as a player in general.
Goodson—who has gone from having three straight 100-yard games as a starter to riding the bench and catching one pass for most of the season—is a type of back the Raiders need. While not a huge, bruising back, he can be an impact runner and fight for the tough yards, as well as contribute on special teams.
I like his chances to play for both of these units, and he should see good time on the field no matter what unit it's with.