The Las Vegas Raiders must set their initial 53-man roster in 13 days. One of the more interesting battles is at the wide receiver position.
It is a crowded room and the Raiders will likely keep five or six receivers. The battle for the bottom of the receiver rotation is going to be intense.
Let’s face it, most of the jobs are set. Superstar Davante Adams, newly signed starter Jakobi Meyers and slot wide receiver Hunter Renfrow are locked in. Third-round pick, Tre Tucker is all but a lock as well. Yes, he had two drops in the first preseason game, but he has drawn praise in training camp and it would be shocking if the No. 100 overall draft pick (the compensation in the Darren Waller trade with the New York Giants) gets cut.
That leaves these players fighting for no more than two roster spots: DeAndre Carter, Keelan Cole, Cam Sims, Phillip Dorsett, Chris Lacy, Kristian Wilkerson and Isaiah Zuber, who was signed Tuesday.
Cole, Dorsett, Tucker and Wilkerson were the only receiver to have receptions against San Francisco on Sunday. Cole had six catches for 29 yards and a touchdown catch. Of course, it’s not a great sign that a seven-year veteran got that much playing time in the first preseason game.
If I had to guess at the moment, I’d say the Raiders start the season with six receivers and the final two sports go to Sims (who is excellent on special teams) and the speedy Carter. With Dorsett making it a tough call. Some of these players will likely stay in the program on the practice squad with the chance of coming up to the 53-man roster at some point if there are injuries.
Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said this week he liked the competition and it will continue in the final two preseason games as the Raiders’ settle the position.
“They all had opportunities, and each guy did his job generally, made a few plays with that group,” McDaniels said. “Had a couple of other opportunities that we didn’t quite come up with. I know Aidan [O’Connell] and Tre [Tucker] had that chance down the sideline to make a kind of a rather big one, and we were close on that. But they competed hard, they blocked hard. I thought they blocked decent for some of our edge stuff that we did in the running game, which was good to see. But much to learn from and much to continue to get better at.”