Las Vegas Raiders: 5 UDFAs with the best chance to make the roster
By Matt Holder
5 UDFAs with a chance to make the Raiders roster this summer.
I’ll be honest, outside of Trayvon Mullen, I have little to no idea how Las Vegas’s cornerback situation will play out. I could see Prince Amukamara becoming the second starter, but I could also see him getting left off the roster if Damon Arnette shows promise in training camp and preseason.
Nevin Lawson’s suspension and status as a relatively average player in the league also makes me question his future with the team, but he also is a veteran who could be a serviceable contributor. With so much ambiguity at the position, all the players fighting for a roster spot serve as the beneficiaries.
The Raiders kept five outside corners last season, and I’ll give Amukamara the benefit of the doubt and say him, Mullen, and Arnette are three locks to make the squad in September. That leaves Lawson, Isaiah Johnson, Keisean Nixon, D.J. Killings, Jordan Brown, Ken Crawley, Dylay Maybin, and Madre Harper to duke it out for two spots on the 53-man roster.
In the interest of saving time/space, I won’t touch on Killings, Brown, and Maybin, as I see them as nothing more than camp bodies. Also, I’m assuming Amik Roberston will be competing on the inside at nickel rather than out wide.
Crawley was an under-the-radar signing that a lot of people might recognize because of his first couple of seasons in New Orleans, however, there’s a reason why he wasn’t a very notable free agent. He’s surrendered passer ratings of 134.5 and 102.1 in 2018 and 2019, and he only played in 13 percent of defensive snaps before being cut by Miami last year.
I would be pretty shocked to see him make the roster over some of the young talents at the position group.
Then there are a couple of names that Raider Nation will certainly recognize in Johnson and Nixon. Unfortunately, an injury basically stole the former’s first season away from him, and he’s essentially an “experience rookie,” meaning he was around to learn the playbook, but hardly saw the field.
The latter was last season’s preseason hero who managed to make the squad but didn’t see very much action in the games that count, and will be fighting for his spot once again. In other words, these two have a lot of potential but are unproven commodities at this point.
This means Harper will be competing with Lawson, Johnson, and Nixon for one of two spots. The Southern Illinois product recorded 20 pass breakups in his last two collegiate seasons, and he has the ideal size and speed at 6’2″ and 190 pounds with a 4.41-second 40-yard dash time. If the rookie’s ball skills and athletic ability can translate into production in August, he’ll certainly force the coaching staff to make some tough decisions.