Raiders 53 Man Roster Prediction: A Few Surprises Await?

Christopher Engelage
Las Vegas Raiders 53 man roster

We’re just a few days away from the Las Vegas Raiders 53 man roster pair down and we give you a final prediction of where the Raiders end up come cuts on Saturday.

The coming days are poised to hold profound significance for the Las Vegas Raiders franchise. With a week one bout scheduled in Carolina with the rebuilding Panthers, the Raiders 53 man roster will be unveiled this weekend in addition to the team’s practice squad – which can hold an additional six more players than usual due to COVID-19. Here are our predictions as to what the Raiders 53 man roster will look like come this weekend.

(3) Quarterbacks: Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, Nathan Peterman

We are all well aware of coach Jon Gruden’s infatuation with quarterbacks and as such I see the Raiders keeping three on the roster to start the season. Dating back to the Gruden QB Camp days, he’s had a strong love for Carr and Mariota while showing his affinity for Peterman by signing him in 2018 despite his early struggles with the Bills.

(5) Running Backs/Fullback: Josh Jacobs, Lynn Bowden Jr., Jalen Richard, Theo Riddick, Alec Ingold (FB)

We project rookie RB Lynn Bowden, Jr. a part of the Raiders 53 man roster.

After stellar rookie seasons from both Josh Jacobs and fullback Alec Ingold, they are locks for the 2020 season. Having recently signed Jalen Richard to a two-year $7 million contract, I firmly believe he will be retained as well.

Out of the newcomers, I think Riddick stays and Devontae Booker is cut simply based on his previous production as a pass-catching threat. Riddick is coming off a season in 2019 spent on IR while Booker was basically relegated to a special teams role.

(7) Wide Receivers: Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards, Hunter Renfrow, Zay Jones, Nelson Agholor, Rico Gafford, Keelan Doss

raiders 53 man roster Zay Jones
Zay Jones had a great camp for Las Vegas and will make the Raiders 53 man roster.

With the recent injury news on Tyrelly Williams, comes the old phrase, “next man up”. I could potentially see the nine wide-outs on the roster all staying with the organization. I think seven will make the active roster while Ateman and Pierson-El are retained on the practice squad.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how Carr performs with such a young group with a sprinkle of veterans looking to establish themselves.

(3) Tight End: Darren Waller, Foster Moreau, Derek Carrier

raiders 53 man roster Jason Witten
Could future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten be a surprise roster cut ahead of the Raiders 53 man roster announcement?

The Raiders 53 man roster will stick with three tight ends, similar to last season. While many may see a different group than the one I envision, I see these players as the top choices. Waller has shown he’s one of the top tight ends in the league and Moreau showed promise as a rookie before he was injured.

Furthermore, Carrier has even had big moments as a pass-catcher while also being a great blocker and effective special teams option. Of course, this means 17-year vet Jason Witten is cut.

8) Offensive line: Rodney Hudson, Richie Incognito, Gabe Jackson, Trent Brown, Kolton Miller, Sam Young, John Simpson, Denzelle Good

Raiders 53 man roster Richie Incognito
Las Vegas Raiders guard Richie Incognito (64) stretches with teammates during warm-ups at the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Henderson. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

If the offense is going to be successful this season, it’s dependent on the line in front of Derek Carr staying healthy and consistent. Keeping the “Carr” clean and continuing to provide running lanes will be imperative.

I think Sam Young will be the lone veteran newcomer on the team while rookie John Simpson will be a new face as well. Given that the practice squad will be expanded, I’m expecting to see a few players stashed there for the time being.

(6) CB: Damon Arnette, Trayvon Mullen, Keisean Nixon, Isaiah Johnson, Amik Robertson, Damarious Randall

Las Vegas Raiders 53 man roster Damon Arnette
Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette (20) jogs up the field during warm ups at the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Henderson. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

After the Prince Amukamara release, Gruden appears headed in a more youthful direction at the cornerback spot in terms of the Raiders 53 man roster. This could come as a relief as well as a huge concern. Any way you slice it, I see Randall as the only guy who makes the team with more than two years played in the league. Randall is a bit of a wildcard here too because he is listed as a “DB” on the official roster. There is no differentiation of corner or safety because he can play both. With Lamarcus Joyner in a similar spot, I think both will each see split time making appearances at both positions.

Also Mabin and Harper will be practice squad depth this season. This group may look a tad different given that Damon Arnette has a fracture in his thumb and his status for week one remains a question mark. However, for the bulk of the season, this is how I see things shaping out. If Arnette is to miss any time, I think Nevin Lawson remains on the Raiders 53 man roster for at least one more week.

(4) Safety: Johnathan Abram, Erik Harris, Lamarcus Joyner, Jeff Heath

After suffering a season-ending injury in week one as a rookie last season, Raider Nation is chomping at the bit to see Johnathan Abram in action. Erik Harris was able to make many spectacular plays last season and has shown tremendous improvement each season with the Raiders. As mentioned above, Joyner and Randall are one and the same and can be interchanged, but I see both on this team.

With the addition of Jeff Heath, I see Dallin Leavitt as the odd man out. Again though, with the expansion of the practice squad, I won’t be shocked to see him stay with the franchise being as he has excelled as a special teams player as well it would be a tough decision to waive him.

(6) LB: Nick Kwiatkoski, Cory Littleton, RaeKwon McMillan, Tanner Muse, Javin White, Kyle Emmanuel

raiders 53 man roster Javin White unlv linebacker
Might former UNLV S/LB Javin White be a surprise inclusion in the final Raiders 53 man roster?

From free agent signings, trades, the draft, or convincing a guy to come out of retirement, the Raiders could have an entirely different linebacking corps in 2020, at least that’s how I see it. Kwiatwoski showed promise in Chicago while Littleton will bring an athletic body to help cover opposing tight ends.

I think the trade with Miami to acquire McMillan will prove to be a worthwhile endeavor to help the run defense. Kyle Emmanuel will be a solid mix to this bunch that could also feature two rookies in Tanner Muse and Javin White.

(5) DE: Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell, Datone Jones, Arden Key, Carl Nassib

Entering year two of their young careers the self-proclaimed duo of “Salt and Pepper” will be back along with Arden Key. Crosby’s numbers looked good overall but I’m looking for more consistency in 2020. Crosby ended with 10 sacks – which is great production given where he was drafted. Remember thought: four sacks came in one game and he failed to record a sack in the final four games. Many are anticipating what Ferrell will look like in year two given a learning season overall from the former fourth overall pick. There have also been discussions of Ferrell lining up on the inside to better suit his run-stuffing ability.

Key has flashed potential at times but has also shown an unfortunate knack for over pursuing and not quite being able to finish the play. However, recent reports suggest he was turning heads in training camp. The same can not be said for Carl Nassib. With $17 million guaranteed and already in his pocket, Nassib will be on the Raiders 53 man roster come Saturday. Rounding out the position group here, I think Datone Jones will be used in a limited role providing depth and the occasional breather for the names mentioned above.

(3) DT: Maliek Collins, Johnathan Hankins, Maurice Hurst

The addition of Rod Marinelli as the defensive line coach means he will be reunited with Maliek Collins in Las Vegas as the big fella signed a one-year six million dollar contract in the offseason. From last year I fully expect Hankins and Maurice Hurst to continue to be utilized this season. Overall I anticipate the Raiders keeping eight defensive linemen with Ferrell occasionally serving as the defensive tackle.

(3) K/P/LS: Daniel Carlson, AJ Cole, Trent Seig

raiders 53 man roster aj cole punter
AJ Cole will be the Raiders 53 man roster punter.

No surprise here, the same three specialists will be back to lead the special teams unit in 2020 for the Raiders being that Dominik Eberle (k) and Liam McCullough (LS) were both released in early August.