Las Vegas Raiders: Takeaways from the 2022 preseason and looking ahead
Unlikely players who earned roster spots
We finally made it to the beginning of the section most of Raider Nation was looking forward to – the roster breakdown. This part is about players on Las Vegas’ preseason roster who started off on the outside looking in, but did enough to overcome the odds against them and earn a spot on the final roster.
Talk about a game wrecker. Bower has been the best pass rusher for the Raiders during the preseason up until the final defensive snap. Yes, I do literally mean up until the final defensive snap; on the last play the Raiders’ defense saw the field in preseason, undrafted free agent Bryce Crosby forced a fumble while hitting the quarterback. The player who scooped up the fumble? Tashawn Bower.
Bower totaled 4 sacks throughout the preseason, bringing the opposing quarterback down at least once in each contest aside from the Hall of Fame game against Jacksonville. On Friday, the former Patriot dominated his old team as he recorded 2 sacks and a recovered fumble. Per Pro Football Focus, only two edge rushers totaled more run stops through the preseason than Tashawn Bower.
Coming into the preseason, the tight end group seemed fairly straightforward. Pro Bowler Darren Waller was the starter, Foster Moreau was the no.2, and red zone threat Jacob Hollister, who’s familiar with McDaniels system, would be the third tight end.
Now, things are different.
While Hollister has done nothing to earn a spot on the final roster, Horsted has been a stud. The athletic tight end logged 2 receptions for 35 yards against the Patriots, just one week after his 3 catch, 53 yard performance in Miami. Horsted has hauled in at least one target in each preseason contest, while Hollister hasn’t done anything at all.
With players such as Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Mack Hollins and the upcoming Tyron Johnson helping to make up the receiver position, Turner seemed to be on the outside looking in. Fast forward to the end of preseason, and Turner did more than prove his worth on the Raiders’ roster.
As a receiver, Turner was simply dominant. The 25-year-old isn’t only responsible for the longest touchdown by the team this preseason (35-yard reception seen here), but his 58 yards receiving was the highest single-game total out of any Raider. Turner recorded at least 14 yards per catch in each of the final three preseason games, being the only Raider to do so.
On special teams, his 26-yard punt return was a team-high.
I’m not sure how many people saw Masterson being in a likely position to make the 53-man roster, but if you were one of the few who predicted this, give yourself a big pat on the back.
Undrafted free agent Luke Masterson has had quite a magnificent preseason. He’s been adept at finding the ball career, leading the Raiders in total tackles twice. Against New England, the rookie did more than just tackle, as he picked off Pro Bowl quarterback Mac Jones.
There’s been a ton of hype surrounding linebacker Darien Butler, and rightfully so, but the truth is Masterson has been the best ’22 UDFA in Las Vegas, and earned his roster spot.
Finally, we come to Sam Webb, who joined a crowded cornerback room and went on to earn his spot on the 53-man roster. Webb displayed incredible ability all summer long, making it to the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent.
He has a long road ahead of him, and many felt he would only make the Week 1 roster if the Raiders kept six cornerbacks. Well, they only kept five, and it was Darius Phillips, not Webb who ended up getting the axe on cutday.