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Christian Ponder, Taylor Mays Highlight Oakland Raiders Roster Reductions

Posted Sep 5, 2015

The Raiders reduced their roster to 53 players Saturday afternoon. Let's take a look at where the roster currently stands.

Christian Ponder was brought to Oakland to backup and mentor Derek Carr, and Taylor Mays was looking for a fresh start to rejuvenate his career; now neither is wearing Silver and Black, both casualties of the team having to cut down their roster to 53 players by 1:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Ponder signed with the Raiders in mid-March in a move that reunited him with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and presumably slotted him as the No. 2 quarterback behind Carr.

As Training Camp 2015 and the preseason wore on, the veteran quarterback remained entrenched as Carr’s backup but failed to dazzle during games, and former undrafted free agent Matt McGloin took full advantage.

Heading into the team’s final warm-up in Seattle, Head Coach Jack Del Rio spoke to the fact that the backup job for the team was still up for grabs, and McGloin’s performance throughout the preseason tilted the scales in his favor.

When all was said and done, McGloin finished the preseason with the best passer rating in the AFC, and the third highest in the NFL at 110.6, and his 424 passing yards were also good for seventh in the AFC, and as a result Head Coach Del Rio and his staff decided to part ways with Ponder.

Similarly to Ponder, Mays arrived in Oakland to see some familiar faces in Silver and Black – he played collegiately at USC with linebacker Malcolm Smith and was coached by current defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., during his time in Southern California.

Signed in late-August, the veteran safety was essentially given a two-week tryout with the Raiders, but failed to make a big enough impression on the coaching staff to earn a spot on the Raiders 53-man roster.

Other notable cuts from the team’s Saturday transactions are as follows: running back George Atkinson III, defensive end Shelby Harris, defensive end Max Valles and defensive lineman C.J. Wilson.

While nearly 20 men were told Saturday that their NFL careers would not continue in Oakland, Saturday was an exciting day for several members of the team who discovered that they had made the Raiders final roster.

After an impressive preseason, that saw him lead not only the team, but also the AFC, in receiving yards (243), wide receiver Seth Roberts made the Raiders 53-man roster Saturday.

Originally signed by the Raiders as an undrafted free agent in 2014, the West Alabama-product spent the 2014 season on the practice squad, before breaking through this preseason, delivering a seven-catch, 110-yard performance in the preseason finale against the Seattle Seahawks.

Another name that jumps off the page when scrolling through the roster is cornerback SaQwan Edwards. Edwards joined the team after participating in a tryout at the team’s rookie mini-camp after going undrafted out of New Mexico.

Edwards flashed good coverage ability in practice and will surely be used on special teams as the season wears on.

Of the 16 undrafted free agents who entered Training Camp 2015, Edwards and tight end Gabe Holmes were the only ones to crack the final roster.

Holmes’ addition is particularly interesting, as it means that the team will carry four tight ends into their Week 1 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Now that we know who survived the final roster reductions, let’s take a look at how the current roster breaks down heading into the regular season.

-       Quarterbacks (2)

-       Running Backs (5)

-       Tight Ends (4)

-       Wide Receivers (6)

-       Offensive Line (9)

-       Linebackers (7)

-       Secondary (10)

-       Defensive Line (7)

-       Specialists (3)