The preseason is over for the Raiders. Now, who are they going to keep or cut to get to the initial roster of 53 players?
The deadline to reach the prescribed limit is 1 p.m. PDT Tuesday.
“We’re going to keep as many as we can,” Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said after a 23-6 win over the New England Patriots to end the preseason at 4-0. “Like I said, these are tough decisions, tough conversations. Our players understood this, but they didn’t lack effort or execution. They try to do everything they can to help us and themselves at the same time. I thought our group did that for the most part.
For the Raiders, a big decision is what to do with guard/tackle Alex Leatherwood, who continued to struggle at the right tackle after seeing his share of problems last season.
He was ineffective a week ago in a start against the Miami Dolphins and was even taken out of the game before returning in the third quarter.
What are the Raiders’ options with Leatherwood? Do they keep him, play him good guard and hope he improves. What is Leatherwood’s value to another team, if Las Vegas wanted to pursue a trade?
Or do the Raiders cut it outright and admit a big draft error?
He’s in his second season and may still be young enough to improve, but selecting him with the 17th overall pick in 2021 was not a good move from the previous regime. A permanent changing of the guard could help after Pro Football Focus said ‘he had a worse 30.7 PFF rating at tackle last season as a rookie’.
The 53-man roster projection typically won’t go exactly as predicted by The Bee or any other outlet, as trades occur or a nagging injury will force a player into reserve short-term.
Sometimes a surprise will happen. Does this surprise come with Leatherwood?
Here’s how The Bee sees the Raiders reaching the reduced number.
The Bee’s projected initial roster of 53 Raiders
QBs (2): Derek Carr, Jarrett Stidham
BR (4): Josh Jacobs, Brandon Bolden, Ameer Abduallah, Zamir White
FB (1): Jacob Johnson
RE (5): Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Mack Hollins, Keelan Cole, Tyron Johnson
AND (3): Darren Waller, Foster Moreau, Jesper Horsted
LT (2): Kolton Miller, Jackson Barton
LG (2): John Simpson Dylan Parham
C(1): Andre James
GR (1): Lester Cotton Sr.
TR (2): Jeremaine Eluemunor, Thayer Munford
FROM (3): Chandler Jones, Cle Ferrell, Malcolm Koonce
TD (4): Johnathan Hankins, Andrew Billings, Kendal Vickers, Neil Farrell Jr.
TD (3): Bilal Nichols, Kyle Peko, Matthew Butler
FROM (2): Maxx Crosby, Tashawn Bower
OLB (1): divine unlock
MLB (3): Denzel Perryman Darien Butler
OLB (2): Jayon Brown, Luke Masterson
BC (2): Nate Hobbs, Trayvon Mullen Jr.
BC (3): Rock Ya-Sin, Anthony Averett, Darius Phillips
FS (2): Tre’von Moeherig, Duron Harmon
SS (2): Johnathan Abram, Roderic Teamer
P(1): AJ Cole
K(1): Daniel Carlson
SL (1): Thirty Sieg
Final analysis on the projected list
Whether through trade or a cut, Leatherwood is gone in the scenario above.
General manager Davie Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels were quick to say goodbye to Kenyan running back Drake, despite his two-year, $11 million contract with the team, including $11 million were guaranteed, according to Overthecap.
Ziegler and McDaniels probably won’t let money be an issue when it comes to their decision on Leatherwood.
Expect Eluemnuor to start the season at right tackle, as he leaves for Kolton Miller at left tackle.
The question for the Raiders is will they go with what they have left at right guard or will they sign someone off the waiver wire? Chances are for the latter option, which means making room for a new guy at the expense of one from the original roster.
The Bee expects rookie Brittain Brown to be on the practice squad and tackle Brandon Parker on short-term injured reserve.