The dreaded roster cut deadline has finally passed and the Oakland Raiders‘ roster is almost set for opening day against the Denver Broncos. While there could still be a few moves done in the coming days, the roster really shouldn’t change much. There weren’t too many crazy surprises like the Khalil Mack trade of a year ago, but there were definitely some moves that turned heads. Below we’re going to go through the biggest surprises from all the Raiders’ roster moves.
Keelan Doss Ditches Raiders for Jaguars
Keelan Doss is this year’s Chris Warren III, sans injury. He was a preseason favorite and was the Raiders’ most impressive rookie player, according to Pro Football Focus. He was also featured heavily on Hard Knocks and him being an Alameda native turned him into a fan favorite. It didn’t help that Jon Gruden would wax poetic about him any chance he got. Unfortunately, it looks like it was a bit of a manufactured storyline.
“He’s a big story on the TV show, but that’s not the reality that we saw on tape,” said Gruden about Doss.
It’s hard to deny that he was impressive in preseason games, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t six wide receivers who were better. Gruden said that the team wanted to keep him on the practice squad, but decided to head to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Doss could always make his way back to Oakland, but it seems unlikely considering this is the team’s last year there.
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Deshone Kizer Replaces Nathan Peterman
When the Raiders claimed quarterback Deshone Kizer off waivers, it brought on a lot of confusion. How could the team keep four quarterbacks on the roster? Well, it didn’t take long to find out that Nathan Peterman was placed on the injured reserve. After a strong preseason, this is a disappointing development for Peterman. Mike Glennon is the clear-cut backup to Derek Carr, so Kizer won’t see the field much, if at all. Mike Mayock was very fond of Kizer when he came into the NFL, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can salvage his career in Oakland.
Alec Ingold Beats out Keith Smith
Keith Smith probably didn’t see him getting sent out of Oakland this offseason. Especially by an undrafted free agent. However, Smith got injured and Alec Ingold took the opportunity and never let go. Fullback isn’t a premium position in the NFL, so it makes sense for the Raiders to keep Ingold, who will cost next to nothing for a few years. He also has a lot of upside. Ingold straight-up beat Smith out for the position. Time will tell if the Raiders made the right call.
Brandon Marshall Cut
Both disappointing and surprising, Brandon Marshall was supposed to help turn around a linebacker unit that has been dreadful for years. Marshall had some strong years in Denver, but an injury derailed his career and it seems like he hasn’t fully recovered. Now, the Raiders’ linebacker unit looks very similar to how it did in 2018 and that should be concerning for the team. Vontaze Burfict figures to be the only new starter for the group. There were rumors that Oakland was interested in bringing in Kiko Alonso, but he was eventually sent to the New Orleans Saints.
It would seem that the team is going to move forward with Nicholas Morrow at inside linebacker, but we won’t know for sure until they announce something. If Morrow isn’t working out, the Raiders need to be in the market for a replacement for Marshall.
Talented Young Players Get Second Life on Practice Squad
Several young players are probably disappointed they didn’t make the active roster, but they can find solace in the fact that they’ve made the practice squad. Marcell Ateman, Quinton Bell, Lester Cotton, Crockett Damarea, Rico Gafford, Dylan Mabin, Nick Nelson, Justin Philips, Anthony Rush and Eric Saubert are the players the team chose.
Rush was a star in the preseason, but the team was loaded at defensive tackle. He’s still a raw player, so a spot on the practice squad is a perfect way for him to develop. Speaking of raw, the Raiders ought to be happy that Quinton Bell stuck around. He didn’t do anything overly impressive in the preseason, but he’s got a ton of upside. He’s incredibly athletic but hasn’t spent a lot of time at defensive end, considering he used to be a wide receiver. He’s a player to keep an eye on when next training camp rolls around.
Marcell Ateman and Nick Nelson saw some regular-season playtime for the Raiders last season but found their roles diminished with an influx of talent at their positions. Both guys have the talent and could get back on the field if the team suffers any injuries during the season.