Ranking The 2016 Oakland Raiders 53-man Roster: 53 to 41

Jan 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Dan Williams (90) leaves the field following the loss to the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 24-6. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Dan Williams (90) leaves the field following the loss to the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 24-6. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Ranking the 2016 Oakland Raiders 53-man roster, from the worst to best player that was on the active roster at the end of the season. Part 1.

The Oakland Raiders have a talented, young team, with plenty of players who can serve as foundational pieces for the future.

In the first part of a new series, we take a look back at the active 53-man roster by season’s end, and rank them from 53 to 1.

53. Tyrell Adams

Tyrell Adams was initially on the Raiders’ practice squad, but was promoted to the active roster on November 26, 2016.

After being promoted, Adams appeared in his first ever NFL game against the Panthers — also known as “The Pinky Game”. Adams would continue to play exclusively on special teams for the remainder of the year.

52. Antonio Hamilton

After going undrafted, Antonio Hamilton signed with the Raiders as a UDFA and was the biggest surprise when the 53-man roster was announced.

Hamilton appeared in four games throughout the season and totaled just 4 tackles in those games.

51. Dexter McDonald

Since being drafted by the Raiders in the 7th round in 2016, Dexter McDonald has primarily been used on a special teams, and sparingly used on defense.

For the 2016 season, McDonald registered 5 tackles in the six games he played.

50. Branden Jackson

Branden Jackson was another undrafted free agent that was signed to the practice squad after failing to make the 53-man roster.

He was promoted to the active roster on December 3, 2016 and would remain on the roster for the rest of the year. Jackson had 1 solo tackle for the season.

49. Keith McGill

Heading into his third year into the NFL, Keith McGill had been a disappointment thus far. Surprisingly, he did show some potential in Week 1, when Pro Football Focus had him ranked as the highest rated defender in the opening game against the Saints.

However, that success did not last long, and by Week 3, rookie Karl Joseph would take over the starting strong safety position. To his credit, McGill impressed on special teams for the remainder of the season.

48. Matt McGloin

After getting a shot at proving his worth and possibly get a starting gig elsewhere, Matt McGloin fell flat on his face. The point of having a backup quarterback is to have them prepared and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Not only did McGloin look unprepared, but it appeared that the moment was just too big for him. Oh well. The Raiders will almost certainly let McGloin walk in 2017, so this ranking seems justified.

47. Jon Feliciano

As a backup, Jon Feliciano has been somewhat serviceable for the Raiders. Although he had been on the roster longer than rookie Vadal Alexander, he was still sat in favor of Vadal in certain situations. Feliciano also failed to get the starting spot at left guard when Kelechi Osemele had to sit due to kidney stones.

The Raiders have one of the better offensive lines in the league, but it appears that Feliciano is on the outside of the rotation.

46. Denver Kirkland

It pained me to rank Denver Kirkland this low, considering the potential he showed in the short spurts he was on the field. Denver is one of the players I am sure most of Raider Nation would like to see more of in 2017.

Although Kirkland was a rookie this past year, he did not carry himself like one. He has a clear mean-streak to him, and it is going to be fun to watch him go up against opposing defenders in the future.

The mean-streak was best displayed in Week 9 against the Broncos, as Kirkland and the rest of the offensive line absolutely abused the Broncos’ front-seven. Kirkland, in particular, was even seen flattening Von Miller on an occasion. It was a pretty sight.

45. Jihad Ward

As a second-round pick, Jihad Ward is a player that should not be ranked this low on the 53-man roster, but unfortunately, he is.

The Illinois product did not impress in his rookie season,  totaling just 30 tackles and 1 fumble recovery. Ward was regarded as a project and was not expected to see a whole lot of action his rookie year, but even considering that, he was a major disappointment.

Ward was thrown into the fire when Mario Edwards Jr. went down with an injury, and Ward’s deficiencies were evident from the start. Hopefully Ward can make a leap in 2017, as he and the rest of the defensive line need to step it up.

44. Connor Cook

After being drafted in the fourth round, Connor Cook was expected to be the future backup to Derek Carr.

Cook went most of the season dressed in street clothes, until he was called upon in Week 17 following injuries to both Carr and McGloin. In his short time against the Broncos, Cook went 14 of 21 for 150 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception.

Cook would go on to start in the Raiders’ first playoff game in 14 years, and he would do so as the first ever quarterback to make his first career start in the playoffs in NFL history.

The rookie was clearly facing an uphill battle in his first ever start, on the road, against the top ranked defense in the NFL. As expected, it was sad sight. Connor went 18 of 45 for 161 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. Although the performance was forgettable, it’s hard to hold this against him.

43. Johnny Holton

After flashing in training camp, Johnny Holton was one of several undrafted rookies that would make the 53-man roster.

As a fifth receiving option, there wasn’t much in terms of expectations for the rookie out of Cincinnati. What he lacked in production as a wide receiver he made up for as a quality special teams player. He was quite effective in punt and kickoff coverage.

Going into 2017, hopefully new offensive coordinator Todd Downing can find a way to incorporate Holton’s speed into the offense. It would be refreshing to see him get the ball on more occasions, as opposed to that third down end-around that every Raider fan could see coming.

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42. James Cowser

The recurring theme in the first part of this series is undrafted free agent. James Cowser was another one. With the only difference being that due to a concussion, he failed to make the 53-man roster. It was until later in the year that he would be brought back and added to the active roster.

Used primarily as a backup, in six games, Cowser had 9 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble.

James Cowser definitely showed some potential, so it would benice to see him get another opportunity in 2017. Who knows, maybe the Raiders found another gem.

41. Dan Williams

Yes, big Dan Williams was once one of the better players on this entire roster, but that has become a long and distant memory.

Coming off of a really good 2015 season, Dan came into 2016 out of shape, and played just like that for the majority of the year in 2016. Williams tallied a mere 17 tackles, and 0.5 sacks. Not exactly what you want out of one of the higher paid players on the team.

Next: Derek Carr says I'm a Raider for life

Do not be surprised if Williams is cut going into 2017, as it would save the Raiders $4.5 million in cap space.