The Las Vegas Raiders have compiled their initial 53-man roster for the 2021 season.
Here are some initial thoughts on the moves:
Good DT Depth:
Here are the Raiders’ defensive tackles: Johnathan Hankins, Quinton Jefferson, Gerald McCoy, Solomon Thomas and Darius Philon. All but Hankins are new. This group seems much deeper than last year’s unit. Perhaps it will be part of a defensive revival.
Here are the Raiders’ cornerbacks after an offseason of much shuffling: Casey Hayward, Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette, Amik Robertson, Nate Hobbs and Keisean Nixon. If Hayward can stay healthy, the young vets can take a step forward. And if Hobbs is the real deal, this group will be greatly improved. Unless there are injuries or disappointments, I’d think veteran Nevin Lawson will be cut after his NFL suspension (for PEDS) ends after Week 2.
After cutting veteran John Brown and undrafted free agents Dillon Stoner, D.J. Turner and Keelan Doss, Las Vegas kept five wide receivers. They are: Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards, Hunter Renfrow, Zay Jones and Willie Snead. I could see some movement on the bottom of this group. If this unit has any injuries, it could be a problem.
The big surprises:
Not many people thought safety Roderic Teamer or tight end Nick Bowers would make the team. But here they are. I could see Teamer being a key special teams player.
Carrier may not be gone yet:
Sources told Silver and Black Pride on Tuesday that the Raiders may bring back veteran tight end Derek Carrier soon following some contract tweaking. It will be interesting to see if Bowers stays if this does happen.
Waiver wire watch:
This roster will change, especially with some players likely starting the season on the injured reserve. I could see the Raiders adding at several positions including the offensive line and at linebacker. A couple of names to watch: offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby (a Las Vegas native) and former Rams’ linebacker Micah Kiser.
The Raiders signed a ton of veterans in free agency, but several didn’t pan out. They cut Brown, safety Karl Joseph, defensive linemen Matt Dickerson and cornerbacks Rasul Douglas and Blidi Wreh-Wilson. They gave Brown and Joseph guaranteed money. Not ideal.
Center Jimmy Morrissey was the only of the Raiders’ seven draft picks not to make the team. The seventh rounder will likely be put on the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Running back Jalen Richard, linebackers Nicholas Morrow and Javin White, and Nixon may also start the season on the injured reserve, as soon as today. That means other players will be signed. One name to watch is undrafted running back Trey Ragas. There will be a lot of movement in the next couple of days ...
Only five players remain on the roster from the start of coach Jon Gruden’s first season in 2018: quarterback Derek Carr, tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker, Morrow and Richard. That is mind-boggling turnover in three years.
Hayward, Philon and Teamer all played for new Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley with the Chargers. They should all have roles on the new-look Raiders.