The rookies are already in training camp and the veterans report tomorrow which means the start of the Las Vegas Raiders 2022 season is upon us, and the Raiders have already begun making some roster moves.
Per the Raiders’ Media Relations Twitter account, defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins and Bilal Nichols as well as cornerback Trayon Mullen have been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list, meaning they won’t be practicing tomorrow or in the near future.
#Raiders roster move: We have signed WR Isaiah Zuber.— Raiders PR (@RAIDERS_PR) July 19, 2022
Additionally, we have placed DT Johnathan Hankins, CB Trayvon Mullen Jr. and DT Bilal Nichols on the Physically Unable to Perform List.
Getting placed on PUP right now isn’t too big of a deal as players can return to practice at any time during training camp and be eligible to play for Week 1. However, once a player returns from PUP they cannot go back on the list, and any player who still carries the designation after training camp must sit out for the first four regular season games. It used to be six games until the league changed the rule this offseason.
So, as long as the three guys mentioned above can get healthy before September, they’ll be able to suit up but that doesn’t necessarily mean their playing time won't be affected.
It’s not much of a surprise that Mullen landed on PUP seeing as he had foot surgery back in May. But the four-year veteran will start a contract year on the sidelines and could fall behind the eight ball for a starting spot. The Raiders traded for Rock Ya-Sin and signed Anthony Averett in the offseason and those two will now start practice at the top of the depth chart.
Seeing Hankins and Nichols get placed on the list is a little shocking. The Athletic’s Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed did report that the two defensive tackles missed all or most of OTAs, but Tafur and Reed also said they were healthy scratches. Hankins did suffer from back issues late last season so he could still be dealing with those ailments, but Nichols remains a bit of an enigma.
In their absence, Las Vegas expects to have a lively competition on the interior of its defensive line. Those two were projected to start, opening up more opportunities for rookies Neil Farrell Jr. and Matthew Butler to make an impression on the coaching staff. Veterans Vernon Butler, Andrew Billings, Kyle Peko and Kendal Vickers will also look to make the most out of the extra reps and attention.
Vegas also brought in a new player, wide receiver Isaiah Zuber.
Zuber originally played his college ball at Kansas State before transferring to Mississippi State for his last year of eligibility. The former Wildcat and Rebel went undrafted in 2020 but was signed by the New England Patriots and bounced between their active roster and practice squad as a rookie. Since then, he been on a few other teams’ practice squads and eventually made his way to the XFL.
With the Houston Gamblers, Zuber had 22 catches for 322 yards and five touchdowns while also adding 425 kick return yards. He now looks to compete for a roster spot within the Raiders’ receiving corps and on special teams.