The Las Vegas Raiders made 22 corresponding moves to meet the NFL’s mandated 53-man roster on Tuesday. A majority of the cuts were expected, but there were a few of surprises, the biggest being OT Alex Leatherwood, WR Keelan Cole and CB Darius Phillips.
Leatherwood had a big dead cap hit if released, but the Raiders couldn’t find a trade partner and had to resort to releasing him after his terrible stint with the team.
The Raiders had their top three wide receivers set in Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, and Mack Hollins, therefore leaving Cole to battle it out with speedster WRs DJ Turner and Tyron Johnson. Cole was playing with the Raiders third-string offense in their last preseason game, an indictment to his future with the Silver and Black.
Phillips had some solid games in preseason and was having a good training camp, making his cut the most surprising. Considering CB Amik Robertson has struggled during his time with the Raiders, it seemed that Phillips had surpassed him on the depth chart, but he ultimately didn’t.
Now onto the initial 53-man roster. The Raiders kept their whole draft class (the first time since 2014) and four UDFAs. LBs Darien Butler and Luke Masterson, CB Sam Webb, and S Isaiah Pola-Mao were the four UDFAs to make the Raiders initial 53-man roster.
The Raiders kept five running backs and a fullback. RBs Josh Jacobs, Zamir White, Ameer Abdullah, and Brandon Bolden had guaranteed roster spots, but the emergence of rookie RB Brittain Brown earned him a spot on the initial 53-man roster.
The Raiders also placed TE Jacob Hollister on the reserve/injured list, opening a roster spot for TE Jesper Horsted. The wide receiver room is completed with Turner and Johnson. Johnson’s speed was something the Raiders couldn’t resist and Turner’s versatility in the passing and return game earned him a spot.
The offensive line group only has eight after the Leatherwood cut and the Brandon Parker season-ending IR designation, look for Ziegler and company to make a trade or hit the waiver wire for an addition.
Nothing surprising in the defensive line, linebacker or safety rooms, but the cornerback room was stunning. The Raiders cut CB Phillips and traded CB Trayvon Mullen Jr., opening up roster spots for Roberston and UDFA CB Sam Webb. Webb had a good training camp and preseason, earning his spot on the roster. Robertson has struggled with the Raiders but they evidently see something in him.
No surprises in the special teams unit as the Raiders have one of the best, if not the best, special teams trio in the league in K Daniel Carlson, P A.J. Cole and LS Trent Sieg.
Although this is the 53-man roster, this doesn’t mean the Raiders are done making adjustments to their team. The Raiders didn’t make an initial waiver claim on Wednesday morning, but Ziegler seems to not be shy of trades. The Raiders’ biggest needs after the cuts are OL help, another CB, and a pass-rushing IDL.
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