Raiders 53-man roster projection midway through 2018 NFL preseason
Who gets left off the roster?
ALAMEDA – Training camp is over. The preseason’s halfway through. Position battles are being waged without resolution thus far, but we have a solid grasp on this Raiders team, who is playing well and who has fallen back in the pack.
That makes this an ideal time to break down this roster, and figure out which guys will be with us come September. Head coach Jon Gruden has some tough choices to make, especially in the offensive backfield and at receiver. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther must whittle down a talented cornerback corps. Those choices come in two exhibitions time. Lets take a look at who should make the roster today:
In: Derek Carr, Connor Cook
Out: EJ Manuel
Gruden may keep all three quarterbacks. Getting rid of one helps flesh out important areas of the roster, so we’ll take the extra spot where we can get it. Cook has been better that Manuel thus far, with greater upside. Gruden, Greg Olson and Brian Callahan should be able to coach Cook up.
In: Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Jalen Richard, Chris Warren III, Keith Smith
Out: DeAndre Washington, Ryan Yurachek, James Butler
Washington is an NFL running back. He will be productive wherever he goes next. He ends up the odd man out here, with Warren on the rise and running with the physicality Gruden prefers. Richard is a better receiver than Washington and is good in space, which makes him keeper over Washington.
In: Jordy Nelson, Amari Cooper, Martavis Bryant, Ryan Switzer, Johnny Holton, Marcell Ateman
Out: Seth Roberts, Griff Whalen, Keon Hatcher, Isaac Whitney, Dwayne Harris, Saeed Blacknall
This might be the toughest position group to thin. The Raiders have kept five receivers in the recent past, but Holton’s special teams ability keeps him on the roster. Whalen will find a job elsewhere. The team would certainly prefer to trade Roberts and his salary if they can. Ateman’s unique skill set keeps him on the roster.
In: Jared Cook, Derek Carrier, Lee Smith
Out: Pharaoh Brown, Paul Butler, Marcus Baugh
This position group was decided this offseason. Gruden likes Cook more than his expected. Smith’s tough as nails and Carrier is versatile. They should try and sneak Butler on the practice squad.
In: Donald Penn, Kolton Miller, Rodney Hudson, Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson, David Sharpe, Brandon Parker, Jon Feliciano, Ian Silberman
Out: Denver Kirkland, Oday Aboushi, James Stone, Cameron Hunt, Breno Giacomini, Jylan Ware, Jordan Simmons
There are some tough cuts in here. Ware has been better this year. Coaches have praised Simmons several times. The team could keep 10 guys here, but they tighten the belt thanks to Feliciano and Silberman, two versatile guys who can play most every position. Gruden likes Sharpe’s potential, and Parker will.
In: Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, Fadol Brown Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall, Justin Ellis, Tank Carradine, Mario Edwards Jr. Arden Key
Out: Shakir Soto, Treyvon Hester, Frostee Rucker
I believe Mack will be on the 53-man roster to start the season. Major progress must be made on his deal -- the sides are not close -- but we're projecting that he’ll be available when the time games count. In this world, Eddie Vanderdoes will remain on PUP and be given time to recover. His health will cost someone a job down the road, but not right now. Rucker’s a tough cut. Hester is, too.
In: Nicholas Morrow, Emmanuel Lamur, Marquel Lee, Derrick Johnson, Kyle Wilber, Tahir Whitehead
Out: Jason Cabinda, James Cowser, Azeem Victor, Shilique Calhoun
The Raiders like Cabinda, and should sign him to the practice squad if they can. Calhoun has been better this preseason, but he loses a spot because the team isn’t ready to part with an oft-injured safety we’ll discuss on the next slide.
In: Obi Melifonwu, Gareon Conley, Rashaan Melvin, Erik Harris, Reggie Nelson, Leon Hall, Marcus Gilchrist, Daryl Worley, Nick Nelson, Karl Joseph
Out: Dexter McDonald, Shalom Luani, Antonio Hamilton, Shareece Wright, Tevin Mitchel, Dallin Leavitt, Reysean Pringle, Qunicy Mauger
Melifonwu’s always hurt. Gruden doesn’t like that. The Raiders keep him anyway, hoping his immense potential shines through at some point and that he can stay healthy. Hamilton deserves a roster spot he might not get. The Raiders are much deeper in the secondary, so some quality players will be on the wrong side of final cuts.
In: Eddy Pineiro, Andrew DePaola, Johnny Townsend
Out: Mike Nugent
Pineiro won the kicking job the day he signed as an undrafted free agent. The Raiders used significant capital to acquire DePaola and Townsend. These three guys should be together a while.