The Las Vegas Raiders have finalized their 53-man roster (many changes to come), so let’s take a look at some aspects of the initial roster:
- While the Raiders have a strong core of top talent, it’s clear that the new leadership of General Manager Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels want their own youth injection. The draft picks of all six Raiders were on the list, as were four unwritten free agents, linebackers Darien Butler and Luke Masterson, cornerback Sam Webb and safety Isaiah Pola-Mao. He was probably the biggest surprise on the first 53. Butler and Pola-Mao benefited from fame. Butler was at Arizona State with new Raiders’ linebackers coach Antonio Pearce and Pola-Mao is the big cousin of Raiders’ running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu.
- The Raiders have eight offensive linemen and third round pick Dylan Parham is likely to be the backup in both center and guard. I would expect this unit to be still a work in progress in terms of roster spots.
- The Raiders kept six running backs, including fullback Jakob Johnson. Seventh round pick, Brittain Brown was held in a traffic jam after a strong preseason. Starter Josh Jacobs is the lone return from last year’s squad of six running backs.
- Las Vegas retained five wide receivers with free-agent pickup Keelan Cole being released, which we all saw coming when he played the fourth quarter of the final preseason game. Tyron Johnson and DJ Turner are the fourth and fifth recipients and should be part of the mix on special teams.
- The Raiders have six defensive tackles on the roster – Bilal Nichols, Johnathan Hankins, Andrew Billings, Kendal Vickers and draft picks Neil Farrell and Matthew Butler. It will be interesting to see how the play rotation develops.
- While Ziegler and McDaniels were loyal to 10 rookies, they cut several veterans who signed this offseason, including Cole, Demarcus Robinson, Vernon Butler, Kenny Young, Alex Bars, Hroniss Grasu, Darius Phillips and Kyle Peko.
- As expected, pass-rusher Tashawn Bower made the roster after four preseason sacks.
- As expected, the Raiders only kept Jarrett Stidham behind starting quarterback Derek Carr. Undrafted rookie Chase Garbers is likely going to the practice squad.
- What’s next? All waived players can be claimed on Wednesday. The Raiders have the 22nd highest waiver priority (and 10th lowest). Players who have been released (veterans) can be signed at any time. The Raiders can also begin adding their practice squad on Wednesday. So expect another busy day.