With the way the Raiders were looking this preseason and how the cuts shook out, there is no doubt whatsoever Reggie McKenzie and Jack Del Rio have been burning through the waiver wire to try and find players who can come in and upgrade a few of the positions they settled on yesterday in the team's initial 53-man roster.
While I can't say there were any great surprises in the list of those cut, there also weren't 53 absolute must-keep guys either. And really the only position group that had some overly difficult decision to be made was the defensive line. There are some teams out there that had to make much more difficult cuts at positions where the Raiders could use some help.
Here are seven players on the Raiders whose relief at being on the 53-man roster should be tempered a bit at least for the next few hours.
Olawale is a fine fullback. And he had showed some good skills as a receiver out of the backfield in the team's preseason finale. But the team has Marcel Reece and along with Bill Musgrave's use of the H-back job, having two fullbacks on the roster might just be a luxury this team can't afford from a roster spot point of view. The Raiders could still use another running back behind Latavius Murray and there look to be a few decent options out there. Should they add one, it very could be Olawale who exits to make room for him.
Holmes showed some receiving skills in the preseason and no doubt the Raiders would like to keep him around on the practice squad. Right now the team has four tight ends. Three is plenty for an active roster. A potential wrinkle to Holmes being on the roster is the health of Clive Walford. If Walford is not ready to go, Holmes will be held onto until he is.
The backup center almost by default. He was graded as the worst player on the Raiders this preseason by Pro Football Focus and I didn't even need their grades to have told you that myself. He somehow beat out Lamar Mady for the backup center spot, which means either Mady is THAT bad (he did look pretty bad) or Reggie McKenzie is still clinging to his first ever draft pick as Raiders GM. Either way, there ARE upgrades to him out there and the Raiders will explore that possibility.
McCants was horrifically bad in the Raiders final preseason game. Though I would caution being a prisoner of the moment. He was playing at left tackle after playing at right guard and right tackle all training camp and preseason before that. That being said, his inclusion gives the Raiders nine offensive linemen. Ideally they should be carrying eight - five starters and three utility backups.
Chimdi Chekwa, Dexter McDonald, SaQwan Edwards
There are good reasons for each of these three to have made the Raiders' roster. Chekwa because of his special teams abilities, McDonald because he was a draft pick who showed some flashes, and Edwards because he was constantly making plays in training camp at the cornerback spot and earned his place as an undrafted free agent. With all three on the roster, the team has seven corners and just three safeties due to Brandian Ross going on injured reserve. That means one could be a casualty to sign a safety and another could be let go in favor of a more established cornerback. And as for McDonald and Edwards, ideally they would be able to be kept around on the practice squad.