Raiders: 3 players who could be the hardest cuts
Keisean Nixon joined the Raiders after an impressive 2019 training camp. However, it has been his special teams that have kept him on the field. Nixon has displayed speed, decisiveness, and open field tackling abilities as a gunner.
Nixon flashed again this preseason on defense but those abilities have not translated to the regular season. Nixon was repeatedly torched during the 2019 and 2020 regular seasons, but his special teams’ snaps were so invaluable. His ability to play on the kickoff and punt units will make this decision difficult for the coaching staff.
As an undrafted player in 2019, Nixon has developed in the Raiders system for 3 years. The staff clearly likes his moxie and ferocity but with 2019 and 2020 draft picks Isaiah Johnson and Amik Robertson also on the roster bubble, the team may opt for those players with more invested capital.
Johnson has flashed at times and Robertson has been hyped up during camp after moving back outside.
Nixon’s struggles on defense will likely contribute to him being a potential cut. Nixon also being currently injured doesn’t help. The Raiders will certainly keep starters Trayvon Mullen and Casey Hayward, and they aren’t cutting 2020 1st round pick, Damon Arnette.
2021 draft pick Nate Hobbs seems to have locked down the starting nickel back position, which essentially leaves one or two spots for Nixon, Robertson, Johnson, and Nevin Lawson. Lawson was the favorite to be the starting slot corner, but with Hobbs’s emergence, he will likely be relegated.
Las Vegas Raiders star tight end Darren Waller has stiff-armed his troubled past to a clear path to success for his future.
Lawson being suspended to start the year likely saves his roster spot until he returns. Nevertheless, Nixon is facing an uphill battle to return for a 3rd season with Las Vegas.