Raiders

Final 53-Man Roster Projection For The 2021 Raiders

We’ve got one more preseason game on Sunday and the final cuts are on Tuesday. Who will make the Las Vegas Raiders roster heading into the regular season?

The Offense

Quarterback

Starter: Derek Carr

Backups: Marcus Mariota, Nathan Peterman

Peterman will make the roster for several reasons. Most importantly, he’s Gruden’s pet. Also, he could be good insurance behind Mariota. The Raiders might play the former Heisman winner in certain packages which will put the already injury-prone player at risk. Also, Mariota could still get traded at any time.

Running Back/Fullback

Starters: Josh Jacobs, Alec Ingold

Backups: Kenyan Drake, Jalen Richard*

Richard has an asterisk because I think his roster spot comes down to one thing: Is he vaccinated? I know it’s silly, but the league has set up the protocols this season so that rostering unvaccinated players is a liability. This is especially true if a player is making more money than his production justifies. It also does not help that Trey Ragas has had an excellent preseason. We do not know Richard’s vaccination status for sure, but it’s a pretty safe bet that he is not. If he is, I think he gets kept around because of his experience and talent. If not, he might be too risky to keep.

Wide Receiver

Starters: Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards, and Hunter Renfrow

Backups: John Brown, Willie Snead IV, and Zay Jones

While the Raiders feel good about their sophomore wideouts, Edwards and Ruggs still have some question marks. For that reason, they will keep six receivers. Carr and Gruden will pound the table for Jones to come back and catch about five passes for another year.

Tight End

Starters: Darren Waller, Foster Moreau

Backups: Derek Carrier, Matt Bushman

While Alex Ellis had the strongest preseason game yet of those competing for the last tight end spot, it’s Bushman who is currently penciled in next to Carrier on the depth chart. Bushman’s size and athleticism will make him too tantalizing of a project for Gruden to pass up.

Offensive Line

Starters: Kolton Miller, Richie Incognito, Andre James, Denzelle Good, and Alex Leatherwood

Backups: Brandon Parker, John Simpson, Nick Martin, and Lester Cotton Sr.

Looking at these backups is nauseating. Parker is somehow the lone bright spot. He and Good are the backup tackles. Simpson will be the first guard off the bench. Martin wins the backup center job by default because rookie Jimmy Morrissey is nowhere near ready. Cotton Sr. should get the last spot because of his versatility. He is basically the lite version of Leatherwood.

The Defense

Defensive Line

Starters: Maxx Crosby, Yannick Ngakoue, Johnathan Hankins, and Solomon Thomas

Backups: Carl Nassib, Clelin Ferrell, Malcolm Koonce, Quinton Jefferson, and Gerald McCoy

No real surprises here. I doubt the Raiders would bring in McCoy when they did if he was not likely to make the roster. This leaves Jefferson in a battle with Darius Philon. Jefferson has more upside. The Raiders could get some flexibility at this position if they decide to find a way to stash Koonce on injured reserve.

Linebacker

Starters: Nicholas Morrow, Tanner Muse, and Cory Littleton

Backups: Nick Kwiatkoski, Divine Deablo, and Denzel Perryman

Several assumptions were made here. First, let’s assume that Morrow has enough chance of playing Week 1 or 2 that he does not end up on the injured reserve. Finally, let’s assume that Javin White’s injury is severe enough that the Raiders decide to just stash him there.

Secondary

Starters: Trayvon Mullen, Casey Hayward, Nate Hobbs, Johnathan Abram, and Tre’von Moehrig

Backups: Damon Arnette, Tyree Gillespie, Amik Robertson, and Karl Joseph

We have a couple of surprises here. First, we have Hobbs overtaking Lawson as the nickel corner. At this point, the rookie has played his way into the starting lineup. His preseason production will force the coaching staff’s hand. Another surprise is the fact that I only have the Raiders keeping three safeties. Gus Bradley’s Cover 3 scheme does not leave a lot of room for safeties that cannot lock down a deep third and Dallin Leavitt has not proven he’s up to the task. Plus, the Raiders have three former college safeties at linebacker which gives them some flexibility.

Special Teams/Practice Squad/Injured Reserve

Specialists

Kicker: Daniel Carlson

Punter: A.J. Cole

Long Snapper: Trent Sieg

Chalk.

Practice Squad

Trey Ragas (running back)

Dillon Stoner (wide receiver)

Alex Ellis (tight end)

Jimmy Morrissey (center)

Patrick Omameh (guard)

Jaryd Jones-Smith (offensive tackle)

Niles Scott (defensive tackle)

Gerri Green (defensive end)

Asmar Bilal (linebacker)

Keisean Nixon (cornerback)

Dallin Leavitt (safety)

This leaves one spot for the team to pick someone up…

Injured Reserve

Javin White (linebacker)

Isaiah Johnson (cornerback)

We’ll see what happens Tuesday!

*Top Photo: L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal

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