Roster cuts are easily the most dreaded day of the year — for both coaches and players.
The last five months have been abnormal, but the Las Vegas Raiders' coaching staff has tried to maximize the past six weeks to give every player an opportunity to compete for a role on the 53-man roster.
Throughout training camp, we've seen the rise of undrafted free agents and the release of savvy veterans, so naturally, there's sure to be a couple more surprises before Week 1; let's break down three observations from the Raiders' 53-man roster announcement.
Javin White falls short
As soon as Javin White signed with the Las Vegas Raiders as an undrafted free agent, the former UNLV Rebel's story was the biggest topic of discussion. Born and raised in Oakland, Calif., White attended McClymonds High School and played for NFL star Marcus Peters' father, Michael, on the football team. His journey to the Raiders felt like it was written in the stars.
Described as vocal and enthusiastic even at a young age, White brought the same level of energy to the Raiders' locker room and everyone took notice. The 23-year-old possesses a unique combination of size and athleticism, ideal for playing linebacker in today's NFL, but with so much competition and depth at the position, the coaching staff was forced to cut him, despite praising his efforts during training camp.
"White has been a pleasant surprise," defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said early in August. "We made a living in Cincinnati getting undrafted linebackers to come in and be a big part of what we do. This guy, to me, is as good of a prospect from a college free agent that I've seen in a long time. He communicates. He can run. He's really understanding the defense."
This isn't the end of the road for White, however. The coaching staff has clearly taken a shine to the promising young talent, and so has veteran safety Erik Harris, so don't be surprised if he winds up on the team's practice squad.
Raiders trade Lynn Bowden Jr.
The biggest surprise of the day comes following the news that General Manager Mike Mayock and Head Coach Jon Gruden have decided to move on from Lynn Bowden. Selected with a third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Mayock and Gruden hoped that Bowden could serve as a joker on a loaded Raiders offense, but it seems as though he didn't fit their vision. The Raiders shipped the former Kentucky Wildcat to the Miami Dolphins alongside a sixth-round pick, in exchange for a fourth-rounder.
Coming in, Bowden faced an uphill battle considering the amount of talent already present in running back coach Kirby Wilson's meeting room. Josh Jacobs and Jalen Richard have carved out roles, not leaving much operating room for Bowden and veteran back Theo Riddick.
Special teams veteran Kyle Wilber's departure
Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia has recruited many of his former players with the Dallas Cowboys to the Silver and Black, and Kyle Wilber is one of them. The duo spent five seasons together at The Star and Bisaccia entrusted much of his scheme to Wilber; however, after two seasons with the Raiders, the 30-year-old linebacker has been released.
As I mentioned earlier, the Raiders linebacking corps has been vastly revamped and the team has more depth at the position than any squad in recent memory. Between the additions of Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, the competition on special teams has been heightened as well. Wilber's departure doesn't come as a shock per se, but it's certainly noteworthy given his contributions the last two years.
Take a look at the Raiders' current 53-man roster heading into the 2020 season.