Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Chase Garbers throws a pass during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the New England Patriots, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Las Vegas .

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Chase Garbers throws a pass during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the New England Patriots, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in Las Vegas .

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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.

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Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. It covers the Las Vegas Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA, and junior colleges. He has been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.
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