Raiders Way Too Early Roster Projection: Special Teams

This our last roster projection. Thanks for reading, hope you guys enjoyed it. The Las Vegas Raiders’ special teams actually have one of the more interesting position battles. Also, we will wrap things up with a look at the full projected depth chart.

Here are the previous entries in the Raiders roster projection series:

Raiders Depth Chart

Long Snapper

  1. Trent Sieg


  1. A.J. Cole


  1. Dominik Eberle

Kick Returner

  1. Rico Gafford
  2. Lynn Bowden Jr.
  3. Jalen Richard

Punt Returner

  1. Lynn Bowden Jr.
  2. Jalen Richard
  3. Rico Gafford


Safe Incumbents

At long snapper and punter, nothing should change. Long snapper is a position that teams typically do not want to rock the boat unless they have too, and Trent Sieg has been consistently solid. A.J. Cole had a strong rookie season so the team will be looking to see how he grows in his second year.

Kicking Showdown

There should be a good battle at kicker this offseason. Incumbent Daniel Carlson looked good in 2018 after joining the team a few weeks into the season. However, he had a rocky 2019. He especially struggled with longer kicks. The Auburn product missed both of his attempts from 50+ yards out. Also, he missed four of his ten attempts from 40-49 yards. This prompted the Raiders to sign Dominik Eberle as an undrafted free agent out of Utah State. Eberle had a strong senior season, making 21 out of 24 field goal attempts. Also, he only missed two of his ten attempts from 40-49 yards. Now, he did miss his lone attempt from 50+ yards, but was three for six in his last two years in college. Since entering the NFL in 2018, Carlson has been three for five from that distance. Statistically speaking the two kickers seem relatively close from long range, but, one could argue that Carlson is closer to his ceiling than the younger Eberle. Also, confidence is a major concern for Carlson. Last season, he missed seven field goals and two extra points. Both missed extra points and all but one of those missed field goals came in the last nine weeks of the season. Carlson appears to be spiraling and he must bounce back quickly if he wants to keep his job. I predict that the team will opt for the rookie.

Return Game

Before moving to quarterback this past year, Lynn Bowden Jr. returned two punts for touchdowns for Kentucky during the 2018 season, including one in the Citrus Bowl against Penn State. With Trevor Davis and Dwayne Harris out of the picture, Bowden could step right in. However, I do think that Rico Gafford will get a shot to return kicks this year. He has great speed, and the coaches seemed to get more comfortable with giving him the ball as the season progressed last year. If Bowden and/or Gafford struggle, Jalen Richard has significant experience as a returner. There is also Hunter Renfrow, but the coaches do not want one of Carr’s safety blankets risking his body like that. Also he does not really have the speed to be much of a home run threat in the return game.

Wrap Up

With that, we are finished with this way too early roster projection. Below is a PDF of the full projected roster, including a practice squad. I only have nine guys listed on the practice squad, leaving room for the team to add people after roster cuts. Also, since there have been changes made to the PDF compared to the previous articles. The following changes address recent roster moves and some previous errors on my part:

  • Removed Rod Smith (not eligible) from practice squad
  • Added Will Stanback to practice squad
  • Removed DeShone Kizer (released) from practice squad
  • Removed Marcell Ateman (not eligible) from practice squad
  • Removed Paul Butler (released) from practice squad
  • Removed Jordan Devey (not eligible) from practice squad
  • Removed Te’von Coney from roster
  • Added Kiesean Nixon from roster

Full projected roster: Raiders Projected Depth Chart

Thanks again for reading the series. If you enjoyed it, feel free to follow me on Twitter @blackman_dalton

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Top Photo: W. Henderson/Getty Images

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