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Big week for rookie offensive linemen McClendon Curtis, Dalton Wagner

Undrafted free agents trying to make 53-man roster

San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders
McClendon Curtis (63)
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

When the Las Vegas Raiders signed their undrafted rookie class in May, two of the most closely watched players were offensive lineman McClendon Curtis and Dalton Wagner.

Both were considered to have a decent chance to make the team’s 53-man roster. With six days to go before the Raiders must set their initial 53-man roster, both Curtis and Wagner need to make a big final push for the roster.

Both will likely play Saturday in the preseason finale at the Dallas Cowboys (5 p.m. PT kickoff).

While anything is possible, it seems like Wagner may have a better chance of making the 53-man roster next week than Curtis. Wagner, from Arkansas, had a poor PFF grade of 37.9 against the Rams. But if the Raiders opt to keep five tackles, he has a chance to make it. If not, he will probably head to the practice squad.

If the first two preseason games are any indication, Curtis’ best chance may be the practice squad. A lot was expected from the Tennessee-Chattanooga product, but he has played just 15 snaps total in the two games. So, the coaching staff may not think he’s ready. Still, if he gets a lot of playing time against the Cowboys, perhaps he could sneak onto the roster.

This week, Raiders coach Josh McDaniels gave praise to both Curtis and Wagner (who have become close since signing with the Raiders) for their efforts in training

”Always here, love football. Literally the two of them are kind of joined at the hip, which is interesting because they’ve ended up playing quite a bit right beside one another also on the offensive line,” McDaniels said. “But when you see them together, they’re in the meal room together, they’re in the meeting room together, they’re on the practice field early together. They do a lot of things to try to help each other continue to grow as football players which is great. Showed some toughness in both of these preseason games, have continued to make some progress in practice relative to all the things that our offensive lineman are responsible for. So, all you can ask for from them now is that they give great effort to try to improve and fix the things that we’re addressing, which both of them do. They’re out there every day, their durability has been very good. They’re tough guys, so a lot of positives in that regard, and we’ll just continue to work with them and grow. And that’s how a lot of really good football players, linemen, have created careers for themselves, and those two guys got a lot of great traits.”