Since the first week of the season, the Raiders have been working with a 52-man roster. For reasons that increasingly became strange and mysterious, they would never fill that final roster spot.
Teams just don’t do that. If the league says you can have 53 men on the active roster and 10 practice squad guys, you fill those spots. Yet for some reason the Raiders weren’t doing it.
The first week, the best theory was that they were waiting until after week one to sign a player so their contract wouldn’t be fully guaranteed for the season.
By the second week when no transactions were made, it was assumed they would just call up a practice squad player last minute.
By the third week it was assumed they figured they would just wait until Marcel Reece was back from his suspension and he would fill that spot.
Reece was released the day he was to come off suspension and the team said some pretty strong farewells that made it clear they weren’t just looking to sign him right back on a better deal.
Back in week two when a practice squad call up seemed the most likely scenario, Denver Kirkland made the most sense. And today that was the move they made.
Kirkland is an undrafted rookie out of Arkansas who played well in training camp and preseason, but was just outside the bubble. Now with several injuries at the tackle position that have lingered since the opener, they finally made the logical move to call him up.
Taking Kirkland’s spot on the practice squad is linebacker Darnell Sankey. Sankey is an undrafted rookie out of Sacramento State who spent training camp with the Broncos.
The 6-2, 250-pounder led the Big Sky Conference and finished second in the FCS with 153 tackles last season. He also had nine tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.