The Oakland Raiders are in Canada today, gearing up to “host” the Green Bay Packers in their third preseason game of the 2019 season. There’s a ton of roster spots on the line, so here’s three players to watch that need to put their best foot forward in tonight’s game . . .
DE Quinton Bell
Bell is a fan favorite, as he’s a freak athlete and a converted wide receiver. That said, his place on the final 53-man roster seems to be very much up in the air. While he likely has more upside than some of the players he’s battling with, he’ll need to flash that explosiveness and show that his potential could have substance to it sooner rather than later. If not, Oakland may attempt to sneak him on the practice squad (which risks losing him to another team via waivers).
CB Nick Nelson
The former 2018 fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin finds himself in one heck of a battle, as the Raiders are deeper at the cornerback position than last year. He was too banged up to play in the first preseason game, then in Arizona he was beat deep by Cardinals rookie speedster Andy Isabella for a big touchdown. While Nevin Lawson’s suspension cracks the door open and provides a bit of breathing room, there’s still no guarantee he’s kept around either way. Whether it’s at outside corner, manning the slot in subpackages, or as a gunner on special teams, Nelson needs to make a couple plays that pop on film to show Guenther/Bisaccia that he belongs on this team come September.
RB DeAndre Washington
D-Wash is in an interesting position, as he’s not a rookie or a second-year guy like the two players mentioned above. He’s a talented, legitimate NFL running back that will definitely be on a 53-man roster somewhere (barring injury) when the games count. The question is, will that be with the silver and black? If head coach Jon Gruden decides to keep four running backs, #33 should definitely stick around. But, if for some reason they only keep three, he’d have to fight off Doug Martin or Jalen Richard for that last roster spot. Washington is likely going to get some decent playing time in tonight’s game, so he’ll need to continue to showcase his versatility out of the backfield, both as an inside runner and a reliable check down receiver.