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
Johnathan AbramS2019, first round
Damon ArnetteCB2020, first round
Derek CarrQB2014, second round
Maxx CrosbyDE2019, fourth round
Divine DeabloLB2021, third round
Bryan EdwardsWR2020, third round
Clelin FerrellDE2019, first round
Tyree GillespieS2021, fourth round
Nate HobbsCB2021, fifth round
Josh JacobsRB2019, first round
Malcolm KoonceDE2021, third round
Alex LeatherwoodT2021, first round
Kolton MillerT2018, first round
Tre'von MoehrigS2021, second round
Foster MoreauTE2019, fourth round
Trayvon Mullen Jr.CB2019, second round
Tanner MuseLB2020, third round
Brandon ParkerT2018, third round
Hunter RenfrowWR2019, fifth round
Amik RobertsonCB2020, fourth round
Henry Ruggs IIIWR2020, first round
John SimpsonG2020, 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
Zay JonesWR2019

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
Daniel CarlsonK2018
Kenyan DrakeRB2021
Denzelle GoodG2019*
Casey Hayward Jr.CB2021
Johnathan HankinsDT2018
Richie IncognitoG2019
Quinton JeffersonDT2021
Nick KwiatkoskiLB2020
Cory LittletonLB2020
Marcus MariotaQB2020
Nick MartinC2021
Gerald McCoyDT2021
Carl NassibDE2020
Yannick NgakoueDE2021
Nathan PetermanQB2018
Darius PhilonDT2021
Willie Snead IVWR2021
Roderic TeamerS2021
Solomon ThomasDT2021
Darren WallerTE2018

*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
Matt BowersTE2020
AJ ColeP2019
Alec IngoldFB2019
Andre JamesC2019
Nicholas MorrowLB2017
Keisean NixonCB2019
Jalen RichardRB2016
Trent SiegLS2018
Javin WhiteLB2019

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)