With the Las Vegas Raiders 31-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday, the next big hurdle between now and the start of the regular season for the Raiders and the rest of the NFL is cutdown day on Tuesday. Here, we’ll take a stab a predicting who will make and who will be left off the Silver and Black’s 53-man roster.
Any player who is a projected cut but is considered a practice squad candidate will have a ‘(PS)’ next to their name.
Starter: Jimmy Garoppolo
Backups: Brian Hoyer and Aidan O’Connell
Cut: Chase Garbers
The fact Hoyer didn’t play at all on Saturday tells me that he’s safe. To me, if the coaching staff were deciding on whether or not to keep him, they would have given him an opportunity to prove himself against the Cowboys. Ahead of the game, Josh McDaniels also talked about keeping three quarterbacks and how the new rule gives teams an opportunity to have an emergency QB in place, so it sounds like that’s the route the Raiders will go.
Running back/Fullback (5):
Starters: Josh Jacobs and Jakob Johnson
Backups: Zamir White, Ameer Abdullah and Brandon Bolden
Cut: Damien Williams, Brittain Brown (IR), Sincere McCormick (PS), Darwin Thompson and Austin Walter (IR)
The rushing champ is officially back in the building and the fact the Raiders’ brass was willing to give him about a $2 million raise is probably a pretty good indication of how they feel about the rest of the position group; not good. Brown basically missed all of training camp and the team has already put him on season-ending injured reserve. Meanwhile, McCormick showed enough that I think he’ll earn a spot on the practice squad.
Jacobs coming back might have been the worst thing for Williams as the latter played well in the last two preseason games, but there just isn’t enough room for him and I don’t see the staff letting one of the three backups go instead.
Wide Reciever (6):
Starters: Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Jakobi Meyers
Backups: DeAndre Carter, Tre Tucker and Phillip Dorsett
Cut: Christian Wilkerson (PS), Cam Sims (PS), Isaiah Zuber, Keelan Cole and Chris Lacy
It was surprising to me to see Dorsett get so much playing time on Saturday as I started to have flashbacks of John Brown and Keelan Cole from the last couple of preseasons, but Dorsett is still a McDaniels’ guy and more sure-handed than Wilkerson. That being said, Wilkerson played well enough to earn a practice squad spot if he doesn’t get picked up somewhere else. For Sims, he had a few flash plays but nothing consistent to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
Tight End (3):
Starter: Michael Mayer
Backups: Austin Hooper and Jesper Horsted
Cut: Cole Fotheringham (PS), Jacob Hollister (IR) and John Samuel Shenker (PS)
After a highly productive first preseason game, Fotheringham had a chance to take Horsted’s spot especially since Horsted missed a good amount of camp with an injury. However, Fotheringham didn’t have a catch outside of that matchup against San Francisco and wasn’t a good enough blocker to finish the job. He and Shenker are good practice squad candidates, especially since the latter took a bunch of reps at fullback and could make a position switch down the road.
Offensive Tackles (5):
Starters: Kolton Miller and Jermaine Eluemunor or Thayer Munford
Backups: Eluemunor or Munford, Justin Herron and Dalton Wagner
There isn’t a whole lot going on here as I think all five tackles make the squad. Wagner wasn’t as sharp in the last two preseason games as he was in the first one, but he has a lot of traits and received too much guaranteed money for an undrafted free agent for Las Vegas to risk losing him on waivers.
Starters: Dylan Parham and Greg Van Roten
Backups: Eluemunor* or Munford* and Jordan Meredith*
Cut: Alex Bars, Netane Muti (PS), McClendon Curtis (PS) and Vitaly Gurman
*listed at other OL positions as well
Rostering only two guards might look weird at first, but the Raiders only kept four interior offensive linemen last year and I only have two centers making it, so this is still consistent from the previous season. Muti and Curtis have the potential to stay in the building at least, but they both proved they aren’t quite there yet. Meanwhile, Bars suffers a steep fall from grace after being a starter for the majority of 2022.
Starter: Andre James
Cut: Hroniss Grasu
Meredith has taken snaps at both guard spots and center so that versatility should work heavily in his favor. Meanwhile, Grasu is a 32-year-old backup-at-best type of player and hasn’t had the best showing this past month, making it hard to argue that he should stick around.
Starters: Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones
Backups: Tyree Wilson and Jordan Willis
Cut: Malcolm Koonce, Isaac Rochell, Adam Plant (PS), David Agoha (PS) and George Tarlas
Just from looking around at other roster projections, I seem to be one of the few people who think Willis will make the team. I just think he’s a good enough pass rusher to contribute and is better against the run than Koonce, giving the free-agent signing a leg up in the competition. I get the feeling Koonce is going to be on the trade block over the next few days.
Defensive Tackle (6):
Starters: Bilal Nichols and John Jenkins
Backups: Jerry Tillery, Neil Farrell Jr., Byron Young and Adam Butler
Cut: Matthew Butler (PS), Nesta Jade Silvera (PS) and Doug Costin
It will be tough to part ways with two draft picks in the last two draft classes, but Matthew Butler and Silvera at least have enough potential to be brought back on the practice squad. I could see maybe one of those two replacing Adam Butler, but the veteran outplayed the two youngsters in the preseason.
Starters: Robert Spillane and Divine Deablo
Backups: Luke Masterson and Curtis Bolton
Cut: Drake Thomas (PS) and Amari Burney (PS)
Whether the Raiders opt to keep four or five linebackers will be a big question. If it’s the latter, I’d give the advantage to Thomas over Burney but, regardless, I don’t think either of those guys is going very far even if they don’t make the team.
Starters: Tre’von Moehrig and Marcus Epps
Backups: Roderic Teamer, Isaiah Pola-Mao and Christopher Smith II
Cut: Jaquan Johnson and Jaydon Grant (PS)
Safety is another position that could come down to numbers. I think Teamer has too big of a role on special teams to be let go, and Pola-Mao’s versatility to play in the box is what leads me to believe Las Vegas will roster five safeties and four backers.
Starters: Marcus Peters, Nate Hobbs and Jakorian Bennett
Backups: David Long Jr. and Duke Shelley
Cut: Amik Robertson, Brandon Facyson, Tyler Hall (PS), Sam Webb (PS), Ike Brown, Bryce Cosby, Azizi Hearn and Jordan Perryman (IR)
I could see the Raiders getting creative with Facyson by having him make the team and then going on injured reserve so he can still play this season—or something along those lines—but him missing basically all of camp is what makes me think he’ll get cut. Hall is a guy who could sneak onto the roster since he played some safety this month too. But I don’t think he’d be a risk to get picked up by another team so the Raiders can safely put him on the practice squad.
Starters: Daniel Carlson (K), A.J. Cole (P), Jacob Bobenmoyer (LS)