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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)

G Vadal Alexander 2016 DE Arden Key 2018
WR Marcell Ateman 2018 LB Marquel Lee 2017
LB Shilique Calhoun 2016 S Shalom Luani 2017
QB Derek Carr 2014 DE Khalil Mack 2014
CB Gareon Conley 2017 CB Dexter McDonald 2015
QB Connor Cook 2016 S Obi Melifonwu 2017
WR Amari Cooper 2015 T Kolton Miller 2018
DE Mario Edwards Jr. 2015 CB Nick Nelson 2018
DT Justin Ellis 2014 T Brandon Parker 2018
OL Jon Feliciano 2015 T David Sharpe 2017
DT P.J. Hall 2018 P Johnny Townsend 2018
DT Treyvon Hester 2017 DT Eddie Vanderdoes 2017
DT Maurice Hurst 2018 LB Azeem Victor 2018
G Gabe Jackson 2014 T Jylan Ware 2017
S Karl Joseph 2016 RB DeAndré Washington 2016

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)

DL Tank Carradine 2018 WR Jordy Nelson 2018
TE Derek Carrier 2018 S Reggie Nelson 2016
TE Jared Cook 2017 OL Kelechi Osemele 2016
LS Andrew DePaola 2018 T Donald Penn 2014
T Breno Giacomini 2018 DB Shaquille Richardson 2017
S Marcus Gilchrist 2018 LB Brady Sheldon 2017
CB Senquez Golson 2018 OL Ian Silberman 2017
CB Leon Hall 2018 FB Keith Smith 2018
WR/RS Dwayne Harris 2018 TE Lee Smith 2016
S Erik Harris 2017 DL Shakir Soto 2017
C Rodney Hudson 2015 C James Stone 2017
LB Bruce Irvin 2016 K Giorgio Tavecchio 2015
LB Derrick Johnson 2018 WR Griff Whalen 2018
LB Emmanuel Lamur 2018 LB Tahir Whitehead 2018
QB EJ Manuel 2017 LB Kyle Wilber 2018
RB Doug Martin 2018 CB Daryl Worley 2018
CB Rashaan Melvin 2018 CB Shareece Wright 2018
DB Tevin Mitchel 2017

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)

WR Martavis Bryant 2018
RB Marshawn Lynch 2017
WR Ryan Switzer 2018

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)

TE Marcus Baugh 2018 S Dallin Leavitt 2018
WR Saeed Blacknall 2018 LB Nicholas Morrow 2017
DE Fadol Brown 2017 C Alex Officer 2018
TE Pharaoh Brown 2017 K Eddy Piñeiro 2018
TE Paul Butler 2018 RB Henry Poggi 2018
LB Jason Cabinda 2018 RB Jalen Richard 2016
LB/DE James Cowser 2016 WR Seth Roberts 2014
CB Antonio Hamilton 2016 LS Drew Scott 2018
WR Keon Hatcher 2017 G Jordan Simmons 2017
WR Johnny Holton 2016 RB Chris Warren 2018
G Denver Kirkland 2016 WR Isaac Whitney 2017

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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