Jon Gruden is going to have some decisions to make come roster reduction time. The Oakland Raiders head coach oversees a wide receiving corps made up of 12 players. That is the norm for NFL teams this time of the year as rosters consist of 90 players.
Yet, the league is fast approaching the cutdown day to 53-man rosters and it’s conceivable Gruden hacks the current wide receiver numbers by half or less.
I say half because while six sounds exorbitant, it is plausible. Additionally, that is not only because of the required depth, but the primary roles the reserve receivers will play (pass catching is going to be their secondary role).
Gruden made it clear during Monday’s press conference in Alameda he wants receivers that can make plays with and without the ball.
Here is a quick breakdown:
* Amari Cooper: Gruden pronounced he would be the Raiders focal point in the aerial attack.
* Jordy Nelson: Old reliable is going to be a bigger jump-ball/possession replacement for Michael Crabtree.
* Martavis Bryant: I find the notion of the Raiders waxing him from the roster after sending a third-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers highly suspect.
* Ryan Switzer: Offers kick-return abilities along with the shifty slot capability.
* Johnny Holton: A deep threat who is also a blazing gunner on special teams.
* Seth Roberts: More renowned for his blocking ability than catching the rock. However, he missed a chunk of time in camp.
* Marcell Ateman: Big bodied receiver who has the impressive college production. A difficult proposition to sneak on practice squad.
* Griff Whalen: A slot target in the mold of Switzer; offers return ability as well.
* Dwayne Harris: A Rich Bisaccia acolyte who is a core special teamer.
* Saeed Blacknall: Undrafted free agent who was an accomplished route runner at Penn State. Practice squad material.
* Isaac Whitney: Made noise in camp, has not translated to games.
* Keon Hatcher: Up and down camp and hasn’t flashed in games.
My prediction to make the final 53-man roster: Cooper; Nelson; Bryant; Switzer; Holton and Ateman. Although, I can easily see Roberts make it over Ateman based off experience and cap situation. However, once Ateman hits the waiver wire, kiss him goodbye. Another team will make the claim with the quickness. While speed is not Ateman’s calling card, he can cut his teeth as a special teamer along with Holton.