Raiders Cut Veteran Running Back to Make Room for Signings

jon gruden

Getty Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

The 2020 NFL draft is officially in the books, and the Las Vegas Raiders added some serious playmaking ability. But the Raiders weren’t done adding players when the draft was over. The team signed several undrafted free agents. That means some veterans will have to get the ax, and Las Vegas announced on their website that they waived running back Mark Thompson.

The Raiders signed Thompson to a reserve/futures contract early in the offseason. He came into the NFL in 2018 as an undrafted free agent but has yet to play in an actual game. He’s spent time with the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens. Thompson never got a chance to show the Raiders what he could do because offseason workouts haven’t been taking place. Considering the team is set at running back, Thompson didn’t have a realistic shot at making the team.

Undrafted Free Agents to Watch

The Raiders love undrafted free agents. Alec Ingold, Jalen Richard and Keisean Nixon are some of the team’s favorites, just to name a few. There are usually reasons why players don’t get drafted, but it doesn’t always mean they are destined to fail in the NFL.

One of the most interesting players the Raiders were able to pick up was George Siaosi Mariner out of Utah State. He was the No. 1 wide receiver for first-round quarterback Jordan Love. He was productive in college and could be the latest undrafted Raiders wide receiver to make a name for himself in training camp. Nobody knew who Keelan Doss was until he started showing off in practices and the preseason. He didn’t find success during the regular season, so perhaps Mariner is the team’s next experiment.

Utah State WR Siaosi Mariner Highlight Reel – 2019 Season | StadiumGraduate transfer Siaosi Mariner made his lone season at Utah State count with a team-high 56 receptions and 8 touchdowns for the Aggies. Catch all of Mariner's top plays from the 2019 season. Stadium keeps you connected to your favorite teams with world-class sports content that you can access anytime, anywhere. Featuring extensive professional and…2019-12-19T03:49:58.000Z

Cornerback Madre Harper out of Southern Illinois is incredibly athletic but also incredibly raw. He’s a perfect candidate to make the practice squad. He has all the physical traits you want to see from an NFL cornerback, but he needs to continue learning the position. There’s little investment made into undrafted free agents, so why not take a risk on somebody with strong athletism and size?

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Raiders Bringing in Hometown Talent

Another interesting signing the Raiders made was bringing on Javin White out of UNLV. He can play both linebacker and safety. Plus, he played college ball not far from where the Raiders will be playing on Sundays. He’s excited about the opportunity.

“I went to college here,” White said on Saturday, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It’s a great opportunity. I thank the Raiders for taking a risk on me.”

It’s clear that the team likes versatile players, and White will join an upgraded linebacker corps. The Raiders have struggled at the position for years, especially in pass coverage. If the team plans to use White as a linebacker full time, he’d be the third safety turned linebacker the team has on the roster. Both Nick Kwiatkoski and Tanner Muse played safety in college. It’s clear the Raiders want to stop getting eaten alive by opposing tight ends.

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