Jalen Richard wasn’t a prime target among those not drafted this year. The Southern Mississppi product ended up with the Raiders, with long odds to make the 53-man roster.
After all, he was built exactly like fifth-round pick DeAndre Washington. Played like him, too.
Despite that fact, Richard made it impossible to cut bait. He has proven valuable on offense and the return game, and was a part of the original Raiders’ 53-man roster announced on Saturday afternoon.
He was one of four undrafted free agents to make the roster, joining defensive tackle Darius Latham, Antonio Hamilton and receiver Johnny Holton on the regular-season squad.
There were few surprises on this roster, which will remain fluid heading into the Sept. 11 opener at New Orleans. Players can be signed to the 10-man practice squad on Sunday. Also, a player who can return from injured reserve can be added to the IR list -– Mario Edwards Jr. is a candidate -– after being named to the 53-man roster.
[BAIR: Raiders 2016 cut day tracker]
There weren’t many notable cuts, though cornerback Nieko Thorpe and linebacker Korey Toomer were among the experienced players released.
Linebacker Neiron Ball and edge rusher James Cowser were waived with an injury designation. Those players would be placed on season-ending injured reserve if they clear waivers and accept the designation. If they reach an injury settlement, they would become free agents.
This must be a disappointing turn for Ball, a promising interior linebacker who couldn’t stay healthy at the University of Florida or in the pros.
The Raiders proved the value special teams, keeping safety Brynden Trawick, linebacker Daren Bates and running back Taiwan Jones, players key to kick and punt coverage.
Only three true edge rushers are on the roster, with Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin and Shilique Calhoun manning those posts.
The Raiders kept nine offensive linemen, as expected, with rookie Vadal Alexander making the squad. The entire draft class earned a spot, something that hasn’t happened in recent seasons.
Here’s the list of Raiders cuts:
RB George Atikinson III
OL Mitch Bell
WR K.J. Brent
CB Kenneth Durden
WR Marvin Hall
DL Drew Iddings
DL Branden Jackson
OL Dnevery Kirkland
DL Derrick Lott
LB John Lotulelei
TE Jake McGee
WR Jaydon Mickens
TE Ryan O’Malley
OL Oni Omoile
CB Neiko Thorpe
LB Korey Toomer
DE Greg Townsend Jr.
LB Kyrie Wilson
LB Neiron Ball
LB/DE James Cowser