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Raiders Free Agency needs: Offensive Line

2012 Free Agency begins next Tuesday, March 13th at 4pm. The fifth in a series of looks at positions the Raiders may target.

2011 Starters:
LT: Jared Veldheer
LG: Stefen Wisniewski
C: Samson Satele
RG: Cooper Carlisle
RT: Khalif Barnes

Offseason Moves so far: none

On the Roster:
Jared Veldheer
Stefen Wisniewski
Cooper Carlisle
Joseph Barksdale
Bruce Campbell

Practice Squad:
Alex Parsons – spent last two seasons on practice squad
Zach Hurd – spent last season on practice squad

Restricted Free Agents: None

Unrestricted Free Agents:
Samson Satele
Stephon Heyer
Khalif Barnes

Projected 2012 Starters:
LT: Jared Veldheer
LG: Stefen Wisniewski
C: Chris Meyers? Samson Satele?
RG: Cooper Carlisle
RT: Joseph Barksdale

The Raiders Offensive Line was a bright spot last season and really is starting to get some good, young talent.

LT Jared Veldheer is slowly starting to gain credibility as one of the better young tackles in the league and he should continue his growth into his third season.

Stefen Wisniewski had a very strong rookie season playing LG and C and could be put into either. I like him better as a LG and it really solidifies that all important left side of the line so if the Raiders can solidify the C spot in free agency or the draft, I think he’s better at guard.

Joseph Barksdale didn’t start much last year, but played in a reserve role as necessary at several spots along the line. He’s the best guess to win the starting RT spot vacated by the exiting Khalif Barnes.

Cooper Carlisle is a solid, if unspectacular player at RG. He was brought in the last time the Raiders ran the zone blocking system that they will be transitioning to and he’s lasted all this time because the Raiders don’t have anyone better on the roster to beat him out. I don’t expect that to change this year, so I expect him right back in at RG at this point.

Bruce Campbell has been a big disappointment. Despite his great athleticism he hasn’t been able to get on the field through 3 different head coaches at this point. That’s a strong indication that he doesn’t have what it takes. I think it’s entirely possible he doesn’t make it onto the final roster this year.

The biggest position of need for the Raiders in free agency or the draft will be finding a viable starter at either center or left guard – Stefen Wisniewski can play either.

As I said above, I prefer Wiz the Younger at LG, so I’ll focus my speculation on Center. There are two main possibilities – re-signing Satele or signing free agent center Chris Myers formerly of the Houston Texans.

It seems to me that if the Raiders were going to re-sign Satele it would have happened by now. Perhaps he wants more than they want to give him so they will let him test his value on the open market and then sign him to something more moderate.

But with OC Greg Knapp coming from Houston, most recently, the Meyers connection has some credence. He would be a good force to come in and teach those younger players the nuances of the zone blocking schemes.

I’ve thrown out, in each of the articles I’ve written on Free Agent choices, options the Raiders may go after and said some of my preferences. I will say that if I were a betting man, Chris Meyers would be the most likely bet for their target player come this Tuesday.

Who do you want the Raiders to sign, if anyone, this free agency period?

Ask me questions or tell me what you think on Twitter @AsherMathews