A look at each position group as the Raiders reduced their roster to 53 players Saturday. There will be additional moves to come as well as the forming of a 10-man practice squad.
“I was cut three times and you have no idea how I empathize with these kids,” general manager Mike Mayock said. “Every cut was brutal. I had tears in my eyes with several of these kids. Every one of them handled it with class and distinction.”
In: Derek Carr, Mike Glennon, Nathan Peterman
Why: Carr is the face of the franchise, Glennon is an able downfield passer and in case you haven’t heard, coach Jon Gruden really likes Peterman.
Mayock: “Bottom line, Jon loves his quarterbacks, does a great job developing them and I think we pretty much knew all along — especially since all three played the way they did — that we were going to go with three.”
In: Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, Alec Ingold (FB).
Out: Keith Smith (FB), Mack Brown, James Butler
Analysis: The first three spots were carved in stone once Doug Martin was let go. And while special teams coach Rich Bisaccia is a Smith fan, Ingold may be giving Gruden flashbacks of Jon Ritchie as a block-and-catch fullback.
Mayock: “Alec Ingold we had at the Senior Bowl. Knew he was going to be a target.”
In: Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Ryan Grant, J.J. Nelson, Dwayne Harris
Out: Keelan Doss, Marcell Ateman, Keon Hatcher, De’Mornay Pierson-El
Analysis: Brown, Williams and Renfrow were never in doubt. Grant and Nelson win out over Doss, the “Hard Knocks” darling who starred at UC Davis. Worth noting that of the 187 snaps Doss played in four exhibition games, none of them came on special teams. Raiders crossing their fingers he clears waivers to be eligible for practice squad. Harris sticks for his work on special teams.
Mayock: “We have strong feelings about Keelan Doss. Local kid, great story. that was a very difficult cut.”
In: Darren Waller, Foster Moreau, Derek Carrier.
Out: Paul Butler, Brandon Barnes
Analysis: Waller was given an opportunity to be Jared Cook’s replacement in the passing game and passed with flying colors. Moreau, a rookie fourth-round pick, is already a favorite of the coaching staff for his tenacity and willingness to mix it up. Carrier can do a little bit of everything including being a core player on special teams. Butler is your classic, in-line dirty work tight end along the lines of Lee Smith.
In: Kolton Miller, Johnathan Cooper, Rodney Hudson, Jordan Devey, Trent Brown, Gabe Jackson, Denzelle Good, Brandon Parker, Andre James, David Sharpe
Out: T Justin Murray, T Tyler Roemer, G Denver Kirkland, Cameron Hunt.
Analysis: The big surprise is James, the undrafted rookie from UCLA who wasn’t projected on anyone’s 53-man roster when camp started. Parker and Sharpe both stick for now. Jackson is eligible to be placed on designated for return injured reserve on Sunday, but the Raiders may carry him on the 53 until he’s healthy since it may only be four games.
Note: Richie Incognito begins the season with a two-game suspension.
Mayock: “Andre James, I’ll tell you Tom Cable has done a great job with him. He was a left tackle at UCLA and not really a highly rated left tackle. We projected him inside as a scouting staff and Tom’s taken that and James had an outstanding camp.”
In: Clelin Ferrell, Johnathan Hankins, Josh Mauro, Arden Key, P.J. Hall, Corey Liuget, Maurice Hurst, Benson Mayowa, Maxx Crosby.
Out: Justin Ellis, Anthony Rush, Ethan Westbrooks, Gabe Wright, Alex Barrett, Eddie Vanderdoes, Quinton Bell.
Analysis: The Raiders went ahead and exposed Rush to the waiver wire after an impressive exhibition season and it remains to be seen if he’ll come back to them in the practice squad. Looks like a vote of confidence for Ellis. Westbrooks’ spot was in jeopardy the moment Liuget was brought aboard.
Mayock: “Jelly (Justin Ellis) has been hurt and it’s been hard to evaluate him because of that. I think as we go ahead with younger, more athletic, consistent, available players, we felt that was a roster spot we could use in a different direction.”
In: Tahir Whitehead, Vontaze Burfict, Nicholas Morrow, Marquel Lee.
Out: Brandon Marshall, Jason Cabinda Te’Von Coney, James Cowser, Koa Farmer, Bryson Allen-Williams.
Analysis:If it seems a little light for the 53-man roster, keep in mind the Raiders will usually have only two on the field at the same time with the amount of sub packages they’ll use during the course of a game. Morrow’s athleticism and potential in coverage won out over Marshall.
Mayock: “We were only going to keep four or five linebackers, which is the way the NFL is going because of spread offenses. If Brandon wasn’t going to be in a high percentage of snaps, we needed him to play all of the special teams. And we really didn”t see that for him.”
In: Gareon Conley, Daryl Worley, Trayvon Mullen, Keisean Nixon, Isaiah Johnson, Lamarcus Joyner, Johnathan Abram, Karl Joseph, Curtis Riley, Erik Harris, Dallin Leavitt
Out: Nick Nelson, Joshua Holsey, Makinton Dorleant, Jordan Richards, Dylan Mabin.
Analysis: Nixon played his way on to the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent (for now anyway) with a very good training camp and exhibition season plus with solid work on special teams. Johnson could be a possibility for injured reserve, designated for return on Sunday. Riley joins Harris for veteran stability on the back end to go along with Abram and Joseph. Leavitt plays with a “chip on his shoulder” according to Mike Mayock and is a core special teams player.
Note: Nevin Lawson begins the season on a four-game suspension.
Mayock: “I saw a kid (Dallin Leavitt) with a chip on his shouder that couldnt wait to prove to people that even though he wasn’t drafted, he belongs with the big boys.”
In: Daniel Carlson (PK), A.J. Cole (P), Trent Sieg (LS)
Analysis: Carlson ran unopposed in training camp and did nothing to make the Raiders look elsewhere. Cole won the punting job in a TKO of Johnny Townsend. Sieg won out over veteran Andrew DePaola.