Las Vegas Raiders

2 Biggest Surprises On This Year’s Las Vegas Raiders Roster

The offseason for the Las Vegas Raiders is essentially over. The current brain trust of Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler appears to be happy with the state of their roster. The cuts to get to the magical number of 53 surely weren’t easy, coupled with a surprising trade of a potential star. Then there were other moves that didn’t surprise folks at all, such as parting ways with Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock’s final first-round pick, Alex Leatherwood.

Nonetheless, there are a couple of maneuvers worth mentioning for the Raiders. In particular, one surprise “keep” and one player who somehow managed to stay on board.

Dave Ziegler surprised folks by trading away Trayvon Mullen to the Arizona Cardinals

Some will argue that the additions to the secondary made this surprising trade pretty obvious. Or did they? Trayvon Mullen had finally returned to training camp, and things were on the upswing. After Rock Ya-Sin and Anthony Averett came back around the same time, Patrick Graham could finally say that his whole defensive backfield was healthy.

With Mullen’s return, expectations rose that he’d strengthen the cornerback group and, of course, would resume his role as a starter. Despite an injury-plagued 2021 season, Mullen still flashed signs of potential Pro Bowl-level play. As such, his return left Raider Nation gleaming. However, Ziegler and McDaniels proved that this is their roster, and they’ll part ways with players regardless of past play.

While the Raiders attained some draft capital (a conditional seventh-round pick, possibly sixth depending on Mullen’s playing time), the move stunned many people. After coming back from a long, hard road to reclaim his spot; he was expeditiously shipped off. This move will be one worth monitoring as Mullen looks to get back on track in Arizona.

Why did the Las Vegas Raiders keep Brittain Brown?

Now, in this case, it’s more of a surprise since the Raiders opted to keep five running backs on the roster. In Brittain Brown’s defense, he played well in the preseason. The seventh-round pick flashed when he received playing time, making the most of this past preseason. In fact, Brown’s play likely had a direct effect on the Raiders’ decision to move on from Kenyan Drake.

People familiar with McDaniels and his offensive scheme should know he values the running back position but approaches it as a committee; the more the better. Fans argue that perhaps Brown’s slot could’ve gone to a defender, but I digress.

The Raiders obviously liked Brown, hence the decision to keep him on and not let him slip to the practice squad, where another team would’ve likely picked him up. Now it’s up to Brown to deliver on the team’s confidence that he can be a contributor this year.

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*Top Photo: John Locher/Associated Press

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