Twelve days ago wide receiver Johnny Holton had survived the initial roster cuts to make the Raiders 53-man roster. His spot on that roster lasted two days before he was let go in favor of street free agent receiver Brandon LaFell.
Nine days later (yesterday) Holton was back. He was re-signed to the team’s practice squad. But this time with a strange designation — he’s listed as a defensive back. Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson explained.
“Just a valuable football player. He was very valuable on special teams, but we wanted to find a spot for him on the roster, so we put him there (at cornerback),” said Olson. “We’ve got kind of a logjam at wide receiver, we got a full room there, and we had a roster spot available. We’re looking for help in all areas, but certainly special teams is a big area we put a big [premium] on. He’s helped us there in the past and we just wanted to get him back on the roster.”
Unless Olson is tipping the Raiders’ hand on moves that haven’t been made yet, what he means when he says “roster” is practice squad.
They apparently liked rookie receivers Marcell Ateman and Saeed Blacknall too much to let one of them go from the practice squad, so instead, they let go of safety Terrell Sinkfield. Though there’s no rule about which positions the players on the practice squad can be.
Holton’s value to this team has been mostly on special teams as a gunner. If he gets called up from the practice squad, that would be why. In that case, it doesn’t really matter what position you designate him on offense or defense.