NFL cutdown day is next Tuesday, August 29, and fans eagerly await the final decisions made by Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler. It may signify the end of the road for some players, but 53 men will earn the right to be a Raider when the dust settles. Will the team keep six wide receivers? Who will win the right guard and right tackle spots? What about the game of musical chairs at cornerback?
All of these questions will receive answers in due time. Until then, all we can do is speculate and make some educated guesses regarding the initial roster in Vegas. Only the preseason finale vs. the Dallas Cowboys stands in the way of the biggest cut day of the offseason. With that in mind, who will don the famous Silver and Black jerseys in 2023?
The Raiders Offense Has Promise
Quarterback: Jimmy Garoppolo, Aidan O’Connell, Brian Hoyer
There is nothing too crazy here behind center. Jimmy Garoppolo is the guy, Aidan O’Connell has shown enough to justify being the backup, and Brian Hoyer is doing a great job coaching up the rookie.
Running Back: Josh Jacobs, Zamir White, Ameer Abdullah
Any playoff aspirations for Vegas start with the 2022 NFL leading rusher, Josh Jacobs. Even though Zamir White had a good offseason, he isn’t ready to be “the guy.” Ameer Abdullah’s ability to play special teams keeps him on the roster as RB3.
Fullback: Jakob Johnson
Hoss is huge. Jakob Johnson, the human battering ram, will open up holes for whoever carries the ball out of the backfield for the Raiders.
Wide Receiver: Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Hunter Renfrow, Tre Tucker, DeAndre Carter, Kristian Wilkerson
Debate your dog; Davante Adams is the best wideout in the world and the NFL’s leading touchdown receiver from 2022. Jakobi Meyers has been phenomenal by all accounts, and Hunter Renfrow is back to claiming ankles in practice.
DeAndre Carter makes the team as a special teamer, and rookie Tre Tucker has game-breaking speed, although his hands can be inconsistent. Kristian Wilkerson would be my preference over Phillip Dorsett for the final spot.
Tight End: Austin Hooper, Michael Mayer, Cole Fotheringham
Michael Mayer isn’t quite ready to be the No. 1 tight end, and he doesn’t have to be — Austin Hooper is capable of being that guy in this offense. Plus, Cole Fotheringham has been solid this preseason. He should be rewarded with an opportunity in 2023.
The Big, Beautiful Uglies From The Trenches In Vegas
Offensive Line: Kolton Miller, Dylan Parham, Andre James, Greg Von Roten, Thayer Munford, Jermaine Eluemunor, Alex Bars, Hroniss Grasu, Jordan Meredith
The only change necessary to this 2023 offensive line is Greg Von Roten cracking the right guard position. Personally, the need for good interior linemen and the surplus of quality tackles steers depth toward Hroniss Grasu, Jordan Meredith, and Alex Bars.
Defensive Line: Maxx Crosby, Bilal Nichols, Jerry Tillery, Chandler Jones, Malcolm Koonce, Byron Young, Neil Farrell Jr., Tyree Wilson, Jordan Willis, Adam Butler
These guys are some big ugly brutes, and real Raiders fans should be here for all of it, too. Maxx Crosby is poised to do something special this season; just sit back and watch. Jordan Willis and Adam Butler have been the bright stories on defense this preseason, while Neil Farrell looks like a new player and everything you want up front in an interior defender. Tyree Wilson and Byron Young figure to be slow-played to prominent roles as rookies.
Don’t Test These Guys
Linebacker: Divine Deablo, Robert Spillane, Drake Thomas, Amari Burney, Curtis Bolton
Divine Deablo and Robert Spillane will be the starters, with the former winning the distinct honor of sporting the green dot in Patrick Graham’s defense. Curtis Bolton and Drake Thomas are the surprises at linebacker this offseason and both are worth keeping around. Rookie Amari Burney has shown some good things, and his size will help him carve out a niche role on this defense.
Cornerback: Marcus Peters, Nate Hobbs, Jakorian Bennett, Brandon Facyson, David Long Jr., Amik Robertson
Picks, picks, and more picks! That’s what this group of guys has been producing all preseason long. Amik Robertson, in a contract year, eeks out a roster spot over Duke Shelley.
Safety: Marcus Epps, Tre’von Moehrig, Chris Smith, Roderic Teamer
Marcus Epps is the leader in the secondary, while Tre’von Moehrig will be starting opposite the veteran at safety. Roderic Teamer is a locker-room guy to his core, and the Raiders just used a Day 3 pick on Chris Smith, so he is safe. Both have performed well in limited opportunities and deserve a spot on the Week 1 roster.
A Few Good Men Round Out The Raiders Roster
Special Teams: A.J. Cole, Daniel Carlson, Jacob Bobenmoyer
The most consistent Pro Bowlers on this team come in the form of the kicker and punter. And we cannot forget the new addition at long snapper, Jacob Bobenmoyer.
*Top Photo: Joseph Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports