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How the 2021 Las Vegas Raiders roster was built

On Tuesday, the Las Vegas Raiders set their initial 53-man roster, giving us insight into what Head Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock were seeing and thinking throughout Training Camp.

The roster features a mix of veterans, young draft picks and a few surprises. Let's take a look at how this Raiders roster was compiled.

NFL Draft (22 players)

Table inside Article
Player Position Year
Johnathan Abram S 2019, first round
Damon Arnette CB 2020, first round
Derek Carr QB 2014, second round
Maxx Crosby DE 2019, fourth round
Divine Deablo LB 2021, third round
Bryan Edwards WR 2020, third round
Clelin Ferrell DE 2019, first round
Tyree Gillespie S 2021, fourth round
Nate Hobbs CB 2021, fifth round
Josh Jacobs RB 2019, first round
Malcolm Koonce DE 2021, third round
Alex Leatherwood T 2021, first round
Kolton Miller T 2018, first round
Tre'von Moehrig S 2021, second round
Foster Moreau TE 2019, fourth round
Trayvon Mullen Jr. CB 2019, second round
Tanner Muse LB 2020, third round
Brandon Parker T 2018, third round
Hunter Renfrow WR 2019, fifth round
Amik Robertson CB 2020, fourth round
Henry Ruggs III WR 2020, first round
John Simpson G 2020, fourth round

All but one of the Raiders' 2021 draft picks made it to the initial roster after many of them showed out during the preseason. The Raiders have built up a strong foundation on their previous picks and hope to see continued growth among not only their newest additions, but also the growth of last year's draft class which endured an unprecedented football season amid the pandemic.

Derek Carr remains as the sole longest tenured draft pick, now entering his eighth season with the Silver and Black.

Trade (1 player)

Table inside Article
Player Position Year
Zay Jones WR 2019

The Raiders acquired Jones from the Buffalo Bills in 2019. Jones has established himself well among the wide receivers and accumulated 62 receiving yards on four receptions over the course of the two preseason games he played. The receiver said he is striving to become a jack-of-all-trades on the offense, which was on display when he lined up at wideout and the slot receiver role throughout camp.

Free Agency (20 players)

Table inside Article
Player Position Year
Daniel Carlson K 2018
Kenyan Drake RB 2021
Denzelle Good G 2019*
Casey Hayward Jr. CB 2021
Johnathan Hankins DT 2018
Richie Incognito G 2019
Quinton Jefferson DT 2021
Nick Kwiatkoski LB 2020
Cory Littleton LB 2020
Marcus Mariota QB 2020
Nick Martin C 2021
Gerald McCoy DT 2021
Carl Nassib DE 2020
Yannick Ngakoue DE 2021
Nathan Peterman QB 2018
Darius Philon DT 2021
Willie Snead IV WR 2021
Roderic Teamer S 2021
Solomon Thomas DT 2021
Darren Waller TE 2018

*signed off waivers in 2018

The Raiders picked up a lot of big names in free agency this past offseason, including Kenyan Drake, Casey Hayward Jr., Gerald McCoy and Yannick Ngakoue. Most of the acquisitions were aimed at improving the defensive side of the ball, where the Raiders have struggled most in the past few seasons. Ngakoue is poised to help lead the D-line, while Hayward will anchor the DB room to get them familiar with the Gus Bradley defense he knows well.

Undrafted Free Agents (9 players)

Table inside Article
Player Position Year
Matt Bowers TE 2020
AJ Cole P 2019
Alec Ingold FB 2019
Andre James C 2019
Nicholas Morrow LB 2017
Keisean Nixon CB 2019
Jalen Richard RB 2016
Trent Sieg LS 2018
Javin White LB 2019

The Silver and Black haven't had an rookie undrafted free agent make the initial roster since 2019, when four UDFAs — all of whom are still on the team — ultimately made it on. Bowers is the newest addition to this group, after spending the entire 2020 season on the Raiders' practice squad and showcasing his potential throughout camp. The tight end made a case to earn his spot after a 16-yard touchdown in the last preseason game.

Take a look at the 53 players on the Silver and Black's current roster. (Last updated Tuesday, December 14)

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