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Roster watch: 5 players who could be on trading block

Cutdown day is looming but can LV strike a deal?

Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Rams
Jermaine Eluemunor
Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

With training camp and the preseason wrapping up this week, the NFL’s cutdown day is just around the corner—Tuesday, August 29—and we’ve seen a few trades around the league for players who were on the way out with their clubs but can provide value for another team. So, as the Las Vegas Raiders start to put the pieces of the puzzle together for their 53-man roster, could they get involved in the wheeling and dealing?

Below is a look at five players who could be on the trade block for various reasons and a projected return for each player.

Jermaine Eluemunor

Jermaine Eluemunor is coming off of a breakout year where he ranked 21st among qualifying offensive tackles with a 75.3 overall PFF grade. He’s also played well during the preseason this month, taking snaps at both tackle spots and earning an 80.3 grade while surrendering zero pressures. The problem is the Raiders have a lot of quality offensive tackles right now.

Kolton Miller obviously isn’t going anywhere, Thayer Munford has stood out during training camp and took the starting right tackle reps over Eluemunor last week against the Rams. Justin Herron has been sharp and rookie UDFA Dalton Wagner has shown potential, too. All of those guys are also younger than Eluemunor, and he’s only on a one-year deal this season.

So, unless Las Vegas plans on keeping five offensive tackles or wants to risk losing someone like Wagner, it would make sense to try and move the seven-year veteran. Plus, given how well he’s played lately, his value should be decently high on the trade market.

Projected return: 5th-round pick

Amik Robertson

Similar to offensive tackle, there isn’t a whole lot of breathing room at the bottom of the Raiders’ depth chart at cornerback. Guys like David Long Jr. and Duke Shelley have played well in August, while Amik Robertson has been solid at best.

For comparison’s sake, Shelley had been targeted one more time than Robertson has during the preseason but has surrendered 21 fewer yards and earned a PFF coverage grade that’s nearly 20 points higher. That combined with young and promising corners like Tyler Hall and Sam Webb likely puts Robertson on the chopping block on cutdown day, especially since the latter is in the last year of his rookie deal.

But the 2020 fourth-round pick could be valuable for another club looking to add some depth to its defensive backfield. He has the versatility to play inside or outside and was a decent player when called upon during the regular season last year.

Projected return: conditional 7th-round pick (turns into 6th-round based on playing time)

Malcolm Koonce

San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders
Malcolm Koonce
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Malcolm Koonce has been very good as a pass rusher during the preseason. He has five pressures on 34 opportunities, and his 20.6 percent win rate ranks in the top 20 among edge defenders, according to PFF. However, he still struggles against the run with an ugly 33.5 PFF grade in that department.

With Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones as the starters, and Tyree Wilson and Jordan Willis behind them, Koonce is buried on the Raiders’ depth chart heading into the regular season. But, he could provide value for another club that is looking for a third-down rusher and it helps that he has two years left on his rookie contract which could increase the return for the Silver and Black.

Projected return: 5th-round pick

Jerry Tillery

In a way, Jerry Tillery is in a pretty similar situation as Koonce. Tillery can provide some pass-rush support but struggles against the run, and Las Vegas has some depth at defensive tackle. Also, he has two years left on his contract as well.

The Raiders have someone who can provide interior pressure with Bilal Nichols, who is a very similar type of player as Tillery. Also, Wilson is expected to take some snaps on the inside in third-down situations, making the former Charger expendable.

Projected return: 6th-round pick

Jesper Horsted

If you followed my work heading into training camp, you know I was excited to watch Jesper Horsted this month, given his growth as a run-blocker and skills as a pass-catcher. However, an injury toward the beginning of camp kept Horsted sidelined for a while and he didn’t play in the team’s first preseason game, and he took 14 snaps last week against the Rams.

Meanwhile, Cole Fotheringham had five catches on five targets for 71 yards versus San Francisco and is PFF’s fourth-highest-graded (89.0) tight end heading into the final preseason game. So, the Raiders have options when it comes to their third tight end spot, which could put Horsted on the trading block.

Projected return: 7th-round pick