5 observations from ESPN’s final 53-man Raiders roster projection
Rico Gafford beats out Doss and Ateman
Last summer, Keelan Doss was one of the stars of the Raiders run on HBO’s Hard Knocks, but was still cut at the end of camp. He was brought back a week later after the whole Antonio Brown debacle finished up, and actually appeared in eight games, making two starts, and hauled in 11 catches, six for first downs.
Marcell Ateman was the team’s seventh round pick back in 2018, and has appeared in eight games across the past two seasons. He has shown the ability to go up and make big catches in the red zone, but in his latest 53-man roster projection, Gutierrez has the Raiders cutting both of them, making room for Rico Gafford.
To say Gafford is fast would be an understatement, as he has the kind of world-class speed that is on par with 2020 first round pick Henry Ruggs III. Last season, we saw the kind of impact he can have in terms of the big play, as he hauled in a 49-yard touchdown from Derek Carr in the team’s loss against Tennessee.
Gafford is a solid player to have because he played cornerback in college, can be used in the passing game, and can also be a contributor on special teams.