This offseason saw plenty of turnover for the Raiders in terms of roster construction. The offensive line was almost completely overhauled with three supposed starters shipped off or cut.
The defense also lost Nelson Agholor who came up big in big moments for the Raiders when an offensive explosion was needed. Their replacements were drafted; Alex Leatherwood, signed; Richie Incognito and Denzelle Good, or awarded a contract in free agency; John Brown. Despite all of that turnover, there was little confusion on who would start for the Raiders on offense this season, and it would have taken abysmal performances from the offensive line to cast a shadow on their playing time.
The defense on the other hand was completely overhauled from top to bottom. The Raiders made an eye popping 51 moves (cut, signed, or re-signed) on that side of the ball. Enough competition was brought in at some positions that it requires pre-season games to figure out who will make the final roster spots on defense. There are more games to be played of course but here are 3 Raiders whose performances on Saturday made a case for being a part of the final 53 man roster.
Philon last played an NFL snap in 2018, after a run in with the law, he was suspended by the league. If Saturday was any indication, his time off was well spent and he put on a noticeable amount of good bulk. He displayed the motor and tenacity to make him an intriguing option in the pass rush rotation, but he also showed up against the run as well. Philon played as if his life depended on it on Saturday against the Seahawks second team.
Philon had some moments where it looked like he was shaking off the rust. He’ll need to improve his pad level and timing the snap. But if those areas of his game steadily improve, there’s no reason why he won’t be a factor in the Raiders defensive line rotation.
Ragas was bell cow for the offense on Saturday night. With 82 total yards from scrimmage on 15 touches, Ragas also rushed for a touchdown that set the tone for the rest of the game.
Ragas putting his nose in there on a blitz pick up on 3rd down pic.twitter.com/7vyWf19u05— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) August 15, 2021
Perhaps the best part of Ragas’ outing was his attention to detail and willingness to step up and in pass protection. The game that Ragas had in all three phases of offense: running, catching and blocking, will make him a hard roster cut later down the line in camp. Ragas will get more snaps as pre-season wears on, and if he continues putting up performances like he had on Saturday, expect him to make the final 53.
Nixon got a bad name for himself last season. There were a couple pivotal plays where Nixon was burnt in coverage and many fans have given up on the third year cover man. This writer has gone on record with the claim that Nixon is far and away the best gunner on this roster, and his special teams chops are nothing to disregard when it comes to predicting the final 53 man roster.
But how did he play defense? Getting in on several open field tackles, and coming down with a pass breakup. Nixon was the best DB on the field for the Raiders on Saturday. He showed off position flexibility and a nasty temperament, something every DB needs. Nixon started the game ahead of long time veteran corners Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Rasul Douglas which should be a good indication of his spot in the pecking order. When it comes down to the 5th or 6th CB spot on the roster, the front office is going to have a hard time cutting a guy who plays special teams and both cornerback spots.
LB Max Richardson
CB Amik Robertson
LB Javin White