It’s that time of year again; football hasn’t actually started, so we’re making lists about assumptions regarding the Las Vegas Raiders. This is made even more difficult with a new leadership regime (Dave Ziegler & Josh McDaniels) that keeps team management information well locked behind closed doors.
The term “roster bubble” refers to players who are either very close to making the starting roster or very close to not making the starting roster. As mentioned above, Dave and Josh run a tight ship. So, speculating on any (non-rookie) new players is made more difficult than trying to project the outcome of those we’re familiar with—for that reason, this list will not include any free agents that came from other teams.
Last note: I didn’t include Clelin Ferrell here because we’ve seen enough lists like this with his name on them.
5 Raiders Players On The Roster Bubble
Amik Robertson was spotted taking snaps and working with the first-team cornerbacks about a month ago. Robertson was praised in the past by Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock and had an impressive resume prior to ending up in the NFL, despite challenges. With a reported height of five-foot-nine, the obvious concern is whether Robertson can hang with larger, experienced NFL receivers on the outside. A previous experiment saw Robertson working in the Nickel. Due to his performance in that position and the existence of Nate Hobbs, the experiment was short-lived.
Trayvon Mullen has been put on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list by the Raiders. All the while, the cornerback position is often mentioned as a need by different outlets and people. This gives Robertson a chance to make his move. From what we know of McDaniels, he values players for much more than just their physical attributes. Could this be the situation Amik Robertson needed to start consistently seeing the field as a starting NFL cornerback?
Remember that part we talked about above, the part with the assumptions and closed doors? Okay, just checking… It’s no secret that the offensive line is one of the position groups most frequently discussed in the context of talent gaps on the roster. Andre James had a fascinating season in 2021. James was at the center of an offensive line that ranked among the worst in the NFL. Months later, in December, James’ play had the same outlets asking if he was on the verge of being elite.
You can pour through multiple interviews with James and other offensive linemen from last season where it’s mentioned how important it is to them to have consistency and get used to playing with the guy lined up next to you. Now, compare that to early statements McDaniels made on the offensive line and his plans for the position group, where he stated flexibility was key, and that “You never know, in this day and age, what you’re going to need, and you certainly can’t go in there with a bunch of one-position players.”
If James feels that he requires positional consistency for this growth, that opinion and his early season struggles in 2021 could open the door for a rookie to get a new opportunity…
With Andre James on the bubble to start at center, that makes it a logical step that Dylan Parham is right there with him. According to what we’ve heard and seen from his play prior to the NFL and what’s written on his scouting report, Parham’s strength lies in his flexibility. It seems there’s a semblance of consensus around Parham’s having the ability to be a starting-caliber player in his rookie season. Personally, I believe his size lends itself better to playing center than guard, making him a potential roster bubble candidate for the Raiders.
There has been no shortage of praise regarding Tyree Gillespie, from outlets, coaches, and otherwise. Indeed, Gillespie seems to have the talent and skills required to excel as a starter in the NFL. However, Las Vegas suddenly finds itself with an interesting situation developing in the position room. Eight players currently on the roster are listed at safety, and Trevon Moehrig seems to be the only sure-fire bet to start, which leads us to…
It’s been reported that there is no guarantee Johnathan Abram will start. It’s also no secret that pass coverage has not traditionally been his strong suit. Combine that with his history of performance in pass coverage, and early reports that he was lining up with Moehrig in two-deep formations, and it’s not absurd to assume his position as a solidified starter in this new coaching regime is not set in stone. On the flip side, it’s been reported that the Raiders’ coaching staff has been impressed with Abram.
Most fans are rooting for Abram. His past performance and the packed position room could put him on the roster chopping block if competition sees him warming up with Ferrell.
*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal