With Saturday’s mass cutdowns bringing the final 53 man roster for the Oakland Raiders, they have now put their energies into putting the finishing touches on their practice squad. Here is the initial group of eight:
Elijah Hood, RB
The lone draft pick who did not make it past final cuts, Hood will most likely spend the season on the practice squad unless an injury occurs to one of the three running backs on the roster.
Keon Hatcher, WR
Hatcher had an impressive preseason, and the Raiders were eager to retain him somehow. Like Hood, Hatcher may get an opportunity if one of the five receivers on the roster were to get hurt.
Isaac Whitney, WR
Whitney is tailor made practice squad material: a player who attended college in the team’s home state (in this case USC) willing to spend a year developing his skills.
The Raiders had three potential tight ends from their 90 man roster to consider for a spot on the practice squad, the other two being Ryan O’Malley and Cooper Helfet. Brown, however, has more upside and athleticism than those two; he could challenge for the final roster next year.
Jordan Simmons, G
Simmons also came from USC, though he might have a better chance of sticking around than Whitney. He did well enough in the preseason to earn this position.
Fadol Brown, DE
Brown was another guy the Raiders had pegged as a prime candidate for the squad. He had a solid career at Florida State, so maybe he can earn a spot on the main roster like Branden Jackson did last year.
Shilique Calhoun, OLB
It was a shock to see Calhoun, last year’s third round pick, get cut a week before what would have been his second season. The former Michigan State product had an extremely poor rookie year and didn’t improve much during the preseason, prompting the Raiders to cut ties. No one took a chance on Calhoun through the waiver wire, so he’ll return to try and develop for the rest of the season, possibly getting a chance to play his way back onto the roster in 2018.
Breon Borders, CB
Borders played so well early on in training camp that he got reps with the first team. That performance didn’t translate to live action, barring an interception in the final preseason game, but the former Duke corner was someone the Raiders wanted to keep in-house.
Notably, released center Ian Silberman was claimed off waivers by the Indianapolis Colts, who needed a versatile backup on the offensive line. LaTroy Lewis, who was arguably the best Raiders player on defense in the preseason, is reportedly signing with the Houston Texans for their practice squad.
The Raiders did not claim any free agent off of waivers, though it’s not known if they submitted one at this time. Not a good look for a team that’s extremely thin at linebacker. They’ll fill the last two practice squad positions in the coming days.