In just 11 days, 37 players will be cut or moved. So, with two preseason games in the books and camp officially coming to a close, I decided to sit down and mull over my predictions for the upcoming 53-man roster.
IN- Derek Carr, Mike Glennon
OUT- Nathan Peterman
While Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman have both hinted that they can be sound backups to Derek Carr thus far, I believe Glennon’s experience and ability to throw the ball down field will win him the job over Peterman’s superior athleticism. Ideally, if Peterman is not claimed off waivers by another club, then Gruden could sign him to the practice squad and keep him in the building.
RUNNING BACK (4)
IN- Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard, Doug Martin, DeAndre Washington
OUT- Mack Brown, James Butler
Simple and straight forward here. I think they keep all four main backs, which saves them from a difficult DeAndre Washington/Doug Martin decision.
IN- Keith Smith
OUT- Alec Ingold
Keith Smith sustained a knee injury days before training camp, which may have slightly cracked the door open for rookie Alec Ingold to push for a roster spot. Ingold seems to have taken advantage, as he has shined throughout training camp and made some nice plays through two preseason games. Unfortunately, Smith is a favorite of special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, so that’ll likely buy Smith one more year to prove signing him was the right move.
WIDE RECEIVER (6)-
IN- Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson, Hunter Renfrow, Keelan Doss, Dwayne Harris
OUT- Ryan Grant, Marcell Ateman, Keon Hatcher, Rico Gafford, De’Mornay Pierson-El
I think we can all agree that this is the most talent Oakland has had at the WR position in a really long time. The players that are vying for the last two spots (assuming Gruden keeps 6) are Marcell Ateman (6’4, 216 lbs), Keelan Doss (6’3, 215 lbs), J.J. Nelson (5’11, 161 lbs) and Ryan Grant (6’, 194 lbs). Assuming Nelson has already locked up one of those spots, I’ll lean towards giving the final nod to Alameda’s own Keelan Doss. Letting go of Ateman will be difficult, but down the road I could see him back repping the silver and black, maybe as a practice squad player. Grant (who has been coming on as of late) could be a prime trade candidate for a needy team that may not want to risk losing out on him via waivers.
TIGHT END (3)-
IN- Darren Waller, Derek Carrier, Foster Moreau
OUT- Paul Butler, Luke Willson, Brandon Barnes
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)-
IN- Kolton Miller, Rodney Hudson, Denzelle Good, Gabe Jackson, Trent Brown, David Sharpe, Jordan Devey, Jonathan Cooper, Brandon Parker
OUT- Andre James, Denver Kirkland, Lester Cotton Sr, Cameron Hunt, Justin Murray, Tyler Roemer
SUSPENDED- Richie Incognito
Brandon Parker is on my initial depth chart as the ‘swing tackle’, but he’s on a short leash. When Incognito returns, somebody has to go. If Parker doesn’t show improvement, Gruden and the Nation will have no problem letting him go, despite him being a 3rd round pick just a year ago. Denver Kirkland has seen this system before and provides some versatility position-wise, so he could easily be kept aboard or brought back if the unit gets banged up.
DEFENSIVE TACKLES (5)-
IN- Johnathan Hankins, Mo Hurst, Anthony Rush, Ethan Westbrooks, P.J. Hall
OUT- Justin Ellis, Eddie Vanderdoes, Gabe Wright
The defensive tackles are a compelling story and tough to pick apart. Anthony Rush, the 340 lb Rookie UDFA, is widely considered to be making a strong roster push after impressive outings in the first two preseason games (5 solo tackles, 0.5 sacks). Ethan Westbrooks, the face-tatted, 287 lb recent acquisition from the Rams, is no doubt a Gruden Grinder. Westbrooks has shown athleticism and versatility since coming to the Raiders. It was tough for me to decide between Westbrooks, P.J Hall, and Jelly. Although Hall seemed quiet in camp, he did make a play in the Arizona game that flashed that strength and potential, which is something that the staff likely needed to see. Jelly, on the other hand, is coming off of a 2018 season riddled with injuries. While the DT has been solid enough to earn himself a 3-year/ $13.5 million contract extension back in March of 2018, I could see the Raiders potentially making a surprise decision to move on from the veteran.
DEFENSIVE ENDS (5)-
IN- Clelin Ferrell, Arden Key, Maxx Crosby, Benson Mayowa, Josh Mauro
OUT- Quinton Bell, James Cowser, Alex Barrett
Wide receiver-turned-defensive end Quinton Bell has been intriguing in camp and is a physically gifted player with freak athleticism. While the injury he sustained was a minor setback, he has seen preseason reps and has had the opportunities to show out for the coaches. I think Bell gets cut, but survives waivers and sticks on the practice squad. If the season gets away from the Raiders, I could see him being brought back to the active roster later on in the season, that way he can have an opportunity to showcase that pass rush potential and prove he belongs on the 53 permanently moving forward.
IN- Tahir Whitehead, Vontaze Burfict, Brandon Marshall, Nicholas Morrow, Marquel Lee, Kyle Wilber
OUT- Koa Farmer, Te’Von Coney, Jason Cabinda
Linebacker battle was not TOO hard to figure out. While Jason Cabinda showed flashes last season, there are too many other backers with wide skill sets and versatility. Bisaccia is a big fan of Kyle Wilber, who was a special teams captain last season, so that likely keeps him in Oakland. Nicholas Morrow has excelled in coverage, while Marquel Lee has shown tremendous growth and is believed to be a lock. There is speculation of a surprise Brandon Marshall cut, but I believe his veteran presence is going to be appreciated. Watch Marshall ball out week one vs Denver in front of the Black Hole. Te’Von Coney went undrafted, which surprised many initially, but I’m not sure he’s a realistic candidate to make the 53 at this point.
IN- Gareon Conley, Daryl Worley, Trayvon Mullen, Isaiah Johnson
OUT- Keisean Nixon, Nick Nelson, Isaiah Langley, Joshua Holsey, Dylan Maybin
SUSPENDED- Nevin Lawson
Isaiah Johnson over Nick Nelson, that’s what this came down to. I decided to go with the physical upside of Johnson. (Keisean Nixon might shock everyone and make this team though, he’s closer than people think)
IN- Karl Joseph, Johnathan Abram, Lamarcus Joyner, Erik Harris, Curtis Riley
OUT- Dallin Leavitt, Jordan Richards, Markinton Dorleant
IN- Daniel Carlson, A.J. Cole, Andrew DePaola
OUT- Trent Sieg
PRACTICE SQUAD (10)-
QB- Nathan Peterman
FB- Alec Ingold
WR- Marcell Ateman
WR- Rico Gafford
TE- Paul Butler
OL- Lester Cotton
DE- Quinton Bell
LB- Te’Von Coney
LB- Jason Cabinda
CB- Keisean Nixon
Overall, this roster is Boomin’.