On Tuesday Aug. 30 at 4 p.m. ET, NFL teams around the league are required to cut their rosters down from 80 to 53 players. Making the initial 53-man roster doesn’t guarantee that a player will stick there as the game of musical chairs unfolds around the league. Because we can’t predict which players from other teams will be available, the best we can do is predict which Raiders from the current roster will be left standing after cut day.
Here is my 53-man roster projection for the 2022 Las Vegas Raiders.
Derek Carr, Jarrett Stidham
This is the most obvious and easiest group to project. Carr is clearly the Raiders’ franchise quarterback and Stidham won the backup job convincingly enough that the Raiders traded Nick Mullens to Minnesota last week.
Josh Jacobs, Zamir White, Ameer Abdullah, Brandon Bolden, Jakob Johnson (fullback)
Josh Jacobs is the clear starter, but head coach Josh McDaniels loves to give his running backs specific roles. Each back will play in particular circumstances, with backs like Brandon Bolden having some running and receiving duties, but making the team primarily as a special teams ace.
Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Mack Hollins, Keelan Cole, DJ Turner, Tyron Johnson
This group is hard to reduce from here. There is speculation that Keelan Cole may be shopped or cut because DJ Turner and Tyron “T-Billy” Johnson have carved out valuable roles on special teams. Both also provide a speed element, but Cole still adds value and has a role. This group will largely be defined by Adams and Renfrow, so the remaining receivers must be able to fill specific roles, be they special teams or situational football.
Darren Waller, Foster Moreau, Jacob Hollister
Here is another area where most projections differ from this one. Many are predicting the Raiders to carry four tight ends due to personnel groupings. I feel Cole adds more to the group of receivers than a fourth tight end does. Waller and Moreau can handle receiving and Moreau and Hollister are sufficient as blockers. Hollister wins a roster spot due to his experience in this situation over other potential tight ends on desirable rookie contracts.
Kolton Miller, John Simpson, Andre James, Dylan Parham, Jermaine Eluemunor, Thayer Munford, Jackson Barton, Lester Cotton Sr., Alex Leatherwood
Brandon Parker was placed on season-ending IR, which opened the door for Leatherwood to make the roster. The team seems to be high on Munford, while Eluemunor and Barton have proven to be at least serviceable for the time being. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raiders initially kept fewer linebackers in order to keep Alex Bars, but this is the group for now.
Bilal Nichols, Johnathan Hankins, Andrew Billings, Matthew Butler, Neil Farrell Jr., Kendal Vickers
Vickers might be the only real surprise here. He isn’t a total shock to make the team, but has shown some pass rush ability and seems to be an ascending player. Remember Denico Autry?
Maxx Crosby, Chandler Jones, Malcolm Koonce, Clelin Ferrell, Tashawn Bower
The Raiders tried twice in the offseason to add veteran depth to this group, signing Kyler Fackrell and Jordan Jenkins. Both were injured in the preseason. This might not be as devastating as it sounds as Malcolm Koonce and Tashawn Bower both seized opportunity to shine. Crosby and Jones are bona fide superstars, but Koonce and Bower should provide quality depth and the ability to substitute without major dropoffs.
Denzel Perryman, Jayon Brown, Divine Deablo, Luke Masterson, Darien Butler
The Raiders will operate in the nickel for the vast majority of their defensive snaps. This means the traditional depth at linebacker is antiquated. Masterson and Butler showed in the preseason they are ready to play, but will most likely earn their snaps on special teams.
Trayvon Mullen Jr., Rock Ya-Sin, Nate Hobbs, Anthony Averett, Sam Webb
This is a hard one, with Sam Webb clearly earning a spot on the roster, but at the cost of Darius Phillips. Again, there will be musical chairs, but this is how I see the winners in this group.
Johnathan Abram, Tre’von Moehrig, Duron Harmon, Roderic Teamer
This mix of safeties gives the Raiders versatility with coverage, nickel, box safety play and special teams.
Kicker – Daniel Carlson
Punter – A.J. Cole
Longsnapper – Trent Seig
Nothing tricky here. The Raiders boast one of the strongest special teams units in the league and there is no reason to expect a change from last year.
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