Which Raiders Will Be Playing For A Roster Spot In Preseason Finale vs. Cowboys?

Which Raiders Will Be Playing For A Roster Spot In Preseason Finale vs. Cowboys?

The Las Vegas Raiders will wrap up their preseason slate on Saturday night when they take on the Dallas Cowboys. After two impressive victories, head coach Josh McDaniels looks to finish on a strong note. Another win this weekend would boost his preseason record to 7-0 with Vegas. Yes, I know those wins mean squat, but it is worth mentioning.

By now, general manager Dave Ziegler has a good idea of what the Week 1 roster should look like. Guys like Jimmy Garoppolo and Davante Adams face zero jeopardy of receiving a pink slip, but the final dozen roster spots are still up for grabs. Let’s highlight a few players fighting for their lives this weekend.

Keelan Cole Sr. Faces Uphill Battle In Stacked Raiders WR Room

Cole is coming off a 2022 campaign in which he contributed sporadically as the Raiders’ fourth receiver. He caught 10 of his 21 targets for 141 yards and a touchdown. The decision-makers in Las Vegas clearly were not satisfied with his contributions, as they brought in significant competition for training camp.

Vegas signed Phillip Dorsett in the offseason, and he seems primed to be the Raiders’ fourth receiver in 2023. On top of that, the Silver and Black also brought in Kristian Wilkerson, who is making a case for himself with an impressive preseason showing. It is worth noting that both Dorsett and Wilkerson are from New England and have experience with McDaniels.

Cole, Dorsett, and Wilkerson are likely competing for one spot as the team’s fourth receiver. The reason is that the Raiders are likely dedicating two of their six receiving slots to speedy gadget/return guys in Tre Tucker and DeAndre Carter.

Cole’s only shot is to play so well in practice and the game on Saturday that the front office and coaching staff decide one of two things. Either A: They feel he is their best option as the fourth receiver and cut the two former Patriots. Or B: They are impressed with Cole enough that keeping him is worth cutting Carter and gambling on Tucker.

Justin Herron Might Not Be Able To Overcome Injury History, Lackluster Play

Herron has not looked great this preseason. He has been quite disappointing for someone that the Raiders were willing to trade for last year. Shortly after Las Vegas acquired him last season, Herron suffered a season-ending ACL injury. It has been downhill ever since.

There were thoughts that Herron could push for the starting right tackle gig as the offseason began. At the very least, fans assumed he could be the team’s swing tackle. Sadly for Raider Nation, both of those ships have likely sailed. Herron is heading into the final week of preseason without a guaranteed roster spot.

Let’s assume that the Raiders keep four tackles on the 53-man roster. Kolton Miller is locked in at left tackle. Right tackle is likely down to Jermaine Eluemunor and Thayer Munford Jr., with the loser being relegated to the swing tackle role. That leaves one spot.

Herron’s main competition is rookie Dalton Wagner. The undrafted free agent out of Arkansas has had a great preseason thus far. Also, he offers a lot more upside than a guy coming off a major knee injury. Herron will need a miracle to make the team.

Amik Robertson Could Be The Odd Man Out In Vegas

Could this really be it for Robertson as a Raider? The former fourth-round pick has been a key depth piece in the secondary since entering the league in 2020. After starting seven games last season, Robertson finds himself on the roster bubble.

I predict that the Raiders keep six cornerbacks. Marcus Peters, Nate Hobbs, and Jakorian Bennett are all locks to make the team. Brandon Facyson is the only other serviceable starting-caliber outside corner, so he will probably take up a spot as well. That leaves two open spots, while the Raiders currently have eight other corners on their roster.

There are several contenders for those final slots. Most notable is Duke Shelley, who has played very well this preseason despite one bad play against San Francisco. Tyler Hall has looked good as well. Then you have some fringe guys like David Long Jr. and Sam Webb.

Heading into his fourth season, the fact that Robertson is even on the roster bubble indicates that the Raiders are probably done with him. He needs the best week of his career to stay with the team into the regular season.

*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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