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Greg Van Roten has been one of Raiders’ best surprises

Veteran guard has had a nice first season in Las Vegas

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
Greg Van Roten
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

When the Las Vegas Raiders signed Greg Van Roten in May it didn’t move the radar much.

After all, it was considered a low-level post-draft signing to bolster the bottom of the roster with a journeyman veteran offensive lineman. Van Roten wasn’t even considered a lock to make the 53-man roster.

Fast forward six months later and he is an true unsung hero of the team headed down the stretch.

Van Roten, 33, had a terrific training camp, and ran away from the competition at is position. Once the season started, Van Roten has been solid. He has been good in both the pass protection and in run-blocking game.

Raiders’ running back Josh Jacobs credited Van Roten for getting his game-changing 40-yard run late in the Raiders’ 16-12 win over the New York Jets on Sunday night.

According to Pro Football Focus, Van Roten has been the second highest graded guard in the league in pass protection.

Again, this wasn’t expected when he was signed.

He is in his ninth NFL season. Interestingly, Van Roten, a Penn product, entered the league in 2012 but was out of the league form 2014-16, before returning in 2017 and sticking. That is an unusual route for a player. He played 16 games with the Buffalo Bills in 2022 and had four starts at center. Before this season, he bounced around with four teams and had 54 starts and 93 games played in the league.

Yet, he has started every game in Las Vegas. The only time he has started a full season was with the Carolina Panthers in 2018. So, this is an outstanding run for Van Roten this deep into his career.

He’s been a great value on his one-year $1.165 million contract. the Raiders will surely want him back, but there may be competition if he hits free agency and he will very likely get a raise in 2024 after his strong performance in 2023.