Assembling The Roster: How The 2018 Raiders Were Built

It's been a busy offseason for the Oakland Raiders, as the team was active during free agency, and even made some trades during the 2018 NFL Draft. Head Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Reggie McKenzie have overhauled the team's roster, bringing in a long list of new faces headed into Gruden's first year back on the sideline.

The team is in the midst of the Offseason Training Program, but the fun has only just begun. Prior to the start of OTAs [Organized Team Activities] next month, let's break down how the 2018 Raiders were pieced together.

NFL Draft (30)

GVadal Alexander2016DEArden Key2018
WRMarcell Ateman2018LBMarquel Lee2017
LBShilique Calhoun2016SShalom Luani2017
QBDerek Carr2014DEKhalil Mack2014
CBGareon Conley2017CBDexter McDonald2015
QBConnor Cook2016SObi Melifonwu2017
WRAmari Cooper2015TKolton Miller2018
DEMario Edwards Jr.2015CBNick Nelson2018
DTJustin Ellis2014TBrandon Parker2018
OLJon Feliciano2015TDavid Sharpe2017
DTP.J. Hall2018PJohnny Townsend2018
DTTreyvon Hester2017DTEddie Vanderdoes2017
DTMaurice Hurst2018LBAzeem Victor2018
GGabe Jackson2014TJylan Ware2017
SKarl Joseph2016RBDeAndre Washington2016

The Raiders have a young core of players mainly made up of its key contributors. McKenzie hit the jackpot in 2014 with Mack, Carr, and Jackson, and followed that up with the addition of Cooper in 2015. The team has a lot of young talent many are expecting to take the next step in the upcoming year. It'll also be interesting to see how the rookie class adjusts to the NFL in their first season.

Free Agency (35)

DLTank Carradine2018WRJordy Nelson2018
TEDerek Carrier2018SReggie Nelson2016
TEJared Cook2017OLKelechi Osemele2016
LSAndrew DePaola2018TDonald Penn2014
TBreno Giacomini2018DBShaquille Richardson2017
SMarcus Gilchrist2018LBBrady Sheldon2017
CBSenquez Golson2018OLIan Silberman2017
CBLeon Hall2018FBKeith Smith2018
WR/RSDwayne Harris2018TELee Smith2016
SErik Harris2017DLShakir Soto2017
CRodney Hudson2015CJames Stone2017
LBBruce Irvin2016KGiorgio Tavecchio2015
LBDerrick Johnson2018WRGriff Whalen2018
LBEmmanuel Lamur2018LBTahir Whitehead2018
QBEJ Manuel2017LBKyle Wilber2018
RBDoug Martin2018CBDaryl Worley2018
CBRashaan Melvin2018CBShareece Wright2018
DBTevin Mitchel2017

From 2017 to 2018, this is the group that's seen the most turnover. Only 10 players from the list of acquired free agents have returned to play under Gruden, with an additional 18 new faces joining the mix. The Silver and Black addressed some key areas of need during free agency this year, bolstering the linebacking corps, as well as the secondary. Many of the Raiders defensive players are young, so Gruden and McKenzie were determined to add some veteran leadership to the defense.

Trade (3)

WRMartavis Bryant2018
RBMarshawn Lynch2017
WRRyan Switzer2018

Last season, the Raiders traded for five-time Pro Bowler Marshawn Lynch. In his first season with the Silver and Black, Lynch totaled 891 rushing yards, seven touchdowns, and 151 receiving yards.

During the 2018 NFL Draft, Gruden and McKenzie traded for wide receiver Martavis Bryant, adding yet another dynamic threat to a talented offense. Between Bryant, Nelson, and Cooper, defenses are going to have a hard time deciding who needs the most attention.

The Raiders also traded for wide receiver Ryan Switzer during the 2018 NFL Draft. In his first season with the Dallas Cowboys last year, Switzer established himself as an electrifying return man.

Undrafted Free Agents (22)

TEMarcus Baugh2018SDallin Leavitt2018
WRSaeed Blacknall2018LBNicholas Morrow2017
DEFadol Brown2017CAlex Officer2018
TEPharaoh Brown2017KEddy Piñeiro2018
TEPaul Butler2018RBHenry Poggi2018
LBJason Cabinda2018RBJalen Richard2016
LB/DEJames Cowser2016WRSeth Roberts2014
CBAntonio Hamilton2016LSDrew Scott2018
WRKeon Hatcher2017GJordan Simmons2017
WRJohnny Holton2016RBChris Warren2018
GDenver Kirkland2016WRIsaac Whitney2017

Just because you go undrafted doesn't mean you won't make an active roster, look at running back Jalen Richard and wide receiver Isaac Whitney. Richard in particular, made a splash right away, and has made a handful of big plays during his tenure with the team thus far. The new crop of UDFAs will have their opportunity to compete for a spot on the roster during OTAs and Training Camp.

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