Five observations from the Raiders initial 53-man roster

And then there were 53.

Saturday afternoon – as required – the Oakland Raiders reduced their roster, finalizing their first roster of the 2018 regular season.

Now, as is the nature of the beast in the NFL, the roster is incredibly subject to change, but with that caveat, let's take a look at five observations from the team's first 53.

1. The Raiders got their backup

One of the biggest storylines we followed throughout training camp and the preseason was the battle between Connor Cook and EJ Manuel for the right to backup Derek Carr.

Well, it turns out that neither of those gentlemen got the nod, as the Silver and Black, somewhat surprisingly traded for veteran quarterback AJ McCarron Saturday afternoon.

McCarron – who played with Amari Cooper for two seasons at Alabama – has 11 NFL appearances to his name, including three last year as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

With McCarron's arrival, the Silver and Black parted ways with Connor Cook, as well as EJ Manuel, leaving the quarterbacks room in Oakland as just McCarron and Derek Carr.

2. Fadol Brown is in

Real quick, let's shout-out Fadol Brown.

After spending last year on the Raiders practice squad, the former Ole Miss Rebel entered 2018 a man on a mission, and after a strong training camp, and a really nice preseason, Brown earned a spot on the team's initial roster.

And when I say earned, put a little emphasis on that word.

Not only was Brown active around the quarterback for much of his time on the field, but he showed he's more than just a pass rusher, as he dropped 15 yards into coverage and made an athletic play to bat down an incoming pass Thursday night in Seattle.

Brown is the perfect example of a guy making the most out of his time on the practice squad and using it as a jumping off point for the start of his career.

Well done.

3. Keon Hatcher left his mark

Speaking of guys who made the most of their time on the practice squad, Keon Hatcher found a home on the Raiders first 53-man roster of the year.

Like Brown, Hatcher spent last season on the Silver and Black's practice squad, but after an out-of-this-world performance Thursday night against the Seahawks, the Raiders made sure Hatcher was one of their final 53 players.

Can we once again talk about what Hatcher did against the Seahawks for a minute?

Not only did he haul in eight catches for 128 yards and three touchdowns, but his work on special teams was excellent too, and truthfully, that probably played into the thinking of keeping him around.

Headed into 2018, we knew that the wide receiver group would be one of the deepest groups on the team, so props to Hatcher for fighting his way onto the roster.

4. The Raiders are carrying six wide receivers

Since we were just talking about the wide receivers… The Raiders kept six of them.

Some of those who made the roster aren't surprising – Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson – but a few, like Hatcher, are.

In addition to those three, Seth Roberts, Dwayne Harris, and Johnny Holton round out the position group.

One player who is noticeably absent from that room now though? Martavis Bryant, who the team waived Saturday afternoon.

5. All but two members of the 2018 draft class made the cut

Save Marcell Ateman and Azeem Victor – who are practice squad eligible, by the way – every remaining member of the Raiders 2018 draft class made the cut.

The play of the rookie class, from top to bottom really, has been a very pleasant development, and unsurprisingly most of those guys find themselves on the initial 53-man roster.

The Silver and Black will lean heavily on a handful of those players in 2018, making the roster is a good, first step.

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