The pads are finally back on for the Las Vegas Raiders and they’ll start getting a better idea of what players are going to make the final roster. One player who should be returning to practice soon is running back Rod Smith. He was put on the COVID-19 list recently which caused him to miss a chunk of training camp. Forutnealy, it appears he’s healthy again as the Raiders announced that he’s officially off the list.
Smith has a good chance to make the roster as he brings a different dynamic than the other Raiders running backs. He’s a big, power back that the team could use in short-yardage situations. Las Vegas currently has a ton of running backs on the roster so Smith has his work cut out for him. He’s going to have to prove that he can bring more to the short-yardage running game than Alec Ingold can.
Raiders Waive DB Ken Crawley
In a corresponding move, the Raiders had to let go of veteran defensive back Ken Crawley. He came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent for the New Orleans Saints. Crawley ended up starting a lot of games at cornerback for the Saints, which is no small feat considering they have a solid group of pass defenders.
He was released in the middle of the season last year and spent some time with the Miami Dolphins. This offseason, he made his way to the Raiders but the lack of OTAs has hurt a lot of players. Crawley will likely get another shot with a team before the season starts.
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Other Players on the Roster Bubble
The Raiders have plenty of time before they need to cut down their further but there are probably some players who are already sweating. At some point, the team is going to need to trim the fat at wide receiver and offensive guard. Keelan Doss was a training camp standout last year but there hasn’t been a lot of chatter about him this year. Considering the Raiders drafted two wide receivers and signed Nelson Agholor, it’s hard to imagine Doss makes the team.
The same goes for Marcell Ateman, who will probably find a second life on the practice squad once again. A lot of players are fighting for the last wide receiver roster spot but it seems like it’s Zay Jones‘ spot to lose.
The Raiders have an absurd amount of offensive linemen right now. The unit got hit with a lot of injuries last year but was still one of the best in the NFL. It’s clear that Jon Gruden and company want to make sure the team doesn’t lack depth. Outside of Richie Incognito, Gabe Jackson and John Simpson, probably any guard on the roster could get cut any day. The Raiders have until September 5th to get their roster to 53 players so there’s no rush to start letting guys go. However, when those final roster cuts come, there are going to be a lot of new offensive linemen on the open market.