Raiders Cut Loose Rookie Wide Receiver as Training Camp Starts

jon gruden

Getty Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Training camp is in full swing for the Las Vegas Raiders and that means the team will start making some roster cuts. The only player they’ve let go was Ade Aruna but that was so they could sign Jordan Roos. That changed on Friday night as the team revealed that they were placing rookie wide receiver Siaosi Mariner on waivers, who was brought in as an undrafted free agent out of Utah State.

It seems like every year the Raiders have one undrafted rookie wide receiver make waves at training camp and Mariner seemed like a good candidate to be that guy. He was the top target for first-round pick quarterback Jordan Love in college and has been seen practicing with Derek Carr and other teammates heading into training camp.

He was recently placed on the Active/Non-Football Illness list but it hasn’t been revealed why. There’s a chance he clears waivers and is given another shot with the Raiders. However, it seems most likely he’ll have to try his luck with another team.

Raiders Will Have to Make a Lot of Cuts at WR

With Mariner now gone, the Raiders have 11 wide receivers on the roster. It’s hard to imagine they keep more than 6 by the end of training camp. New additions Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards and Nelson Agholor are all pretty much locks to make the roster. Hunter Renfrow and Tyrell Williams are returning players who definitely aren’t going anywhere. That leaves six players fighting for one spot.

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Rico Gafford Hoping to Make the Roster

The battle for the last wide receiver roster spot will be between Zay Jones, Rico Gafford, Anthony Ratliff-Williams, De’Mornay Pierson-El, Keelan Doss and Marcell Ateman. Jones, Gafford, Ateman and Doss all played games for the Raiders last season so the race probably between those four men.

Jones appears to be the favorite has he was a former second-round pick and has been putting in a ton of work with Derek Carr this offseason. That said, Gafford has rare speed and could be valuable in a number of ways.

“For this year, I want to be all in all a guy who contributes from the start to finish,” Gafford told Tashan Reed of The Athletic. “I want to be able to go in every play on offense whenever they are willing to put me in there. On top of that, I want to be one of the key guys on special teams as well. And, wherever they put me, I’m doing something to make a name for myself in a good way.”

Gafford didn’t play wide receiver in college and is still learning the position. He’s very similar in size and speed to Ruggs. If he doesn’t make the roster, he’ll have a really good shot to make the practice squad like he did last season. He could be very valuable for the offense if Ruggs misses time at any point.

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