The Las Vegas Raiders have set their initial 53-man roster (plenty of changes to come), so let’s look at some aspects of the first roster:
- While the Raiders have a strong core of top-tier talent, it is clear the new brass of general manager Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels want their own infusion of youth. All six Raiders’ draft picks made the roster as did four undrafted free agents, linebackers Darien Butler and Luke Masterson, cornerback Sam Webb and safety Isaiah Pola-Mao. He was probably the biggest surprise on the initial 53. Butler and Pola-Mao benefitted from familiarity. Butler was at Arizona State with new Raiders’ linebackers coach Antonio Pearce and Pola-Mao is the great nephew of Raiders’ running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu.
- The Raiders have eight offensive linemen and third-round pick Dylan Parham is probably the backup at both center and guard. I’d expect this unit is still a work in progress as far as roster spots go.
- The Raiders kept six running backs, including fullback Jakob Johnson. Seventh-round pick, Brittain Brown was kept at tailback after a strong preseason. Starter Josh Jacobs is the only returner from last year’s squad of the six running backs.
- Las Vegas kept five wide receivers with free-agent pickup Keelan Cole getting released, which we all saw coming when he played in the fourth quarter of the final preseason game. Tyron Johnson and DJ Turner are the fourth and fifth receivers and should be part of the mix on special teams.
- The Raiders have six defensive tackles on the roster — Bilal Nichols, Johnathan Hankins, Andrew Billings, Kendal Vickers and draft picks Neil Farrell and Matthew Butler. It will be interesting to see how the playing rotation develops.
- While Ziegler and McDaniels were loyal to 10 rookies, they cut several veterans who signed this offseason including Cole, Demarcus Robinson, Vernon Butler, Kenny Young, Alex Bars, Hroniss Grasu, Darius Phillips and Kyle Peko.
- As expected, pass-rusher Tashawn Bower made the roster after having four sacks in the preseason.
- As expected, the Raiders kept only Jarrett Stidham behind starting quarterback Derek Carr. Undrafted rookie Chase Garbers likely is headed to the practice squad.
- What’s next? All waived players will be available to be claimed Wednesday. The Raiders have the 22nd highest waiver priority (and 10th lowest). Players who were released (veterans) can be signed at any time. The Raiders can also start adding to their practice squad Wednesday as well. So, expect another busy day.