When the Las Vegas Raiders released their 53-man roster, there weren’t many surprises. The transaction that got the most attention was the Lynn Bowden Jr. trade. However, there were other moves that raised some eyebrows such as defensive end Kendall Vickers making the team.Â
Who foresaw the Raiders keeping Kendall Vickers?
That the Raiders kept Vickers is not shocking, more than anything, it would fall under the unexpected category. After all, much of the attention was on how much sophomore defensive end Clelin Ferrell progressed. When looking at the defensive line, we were paying attention to how EDGE Arden Key stood out. Meanwhile, Vickers was working hard and making the most out of his chance.
Coming out of Tennessee, Vickers signed as an undrafted free agent with the Steelers in 2018. Pittsburgh cut the ex-Vol after the preseason and the former Vol would later join the Tennessee Titans practice squad. He then continued his football career in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Football Team. There, he played 18 games and registered 12 tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble. They released him back in January to pursue NFL opportunities. Back in the US, the Raiders gave him one and he made the most out of it.
Â Vickers joins a defensive line full of potential and depth
Although the Raiders defensive line didn’t have as much turnover as other units, it did undergo some changes. Defensive tackle Maliek Collins and defensive end Carl Nassib joined the team as free agents. They form part of a unit that includes defensive end Maxx Crosby, defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins and Maurice Hurst, Key, and Ferrell.
Last season, the Raiders defensive line produced 32 sacks after registering 10 in 2018. The group should be even better in 2020 after the addition of defensive line coach Rod Marinelli to the staff. Marinelli surely had a hand on Vickers staying and even though he won’t play a prominent role, the coach must’ve liked what he saw in Vickers in training camp.
It takes hard work, sheer determination, and a bit of luck to make an NFL roster. Vickers put all those together in Las Vegas and will play in his first regular-season game against the Carolina Panthers in just a few days.
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Top Photo: Shannon Vizniowski/CFL