Updated August 29, 2023 - 7:27 pm
Despite his impressive preseason play, rookie Aidan O’Connell probably will start the season as the Raiders’ third-string quarterback.
The team’s decision to keep Brian Hoyer on the 53-man roster they submitted to the NFL on Tuesday most likely indicates the veteran will back up Jimmy Garoppolo to start the season.
The Raiders actually have 54 players on the roster. Running back Josh Jacobs, who returned to the team last week after signing a one-year contract, currently does not count against the roster. Once his exemption expires, the Raiders must cut someone to make room for him.
The decision to keep Hoyer was one of a handful of surprises.
The trade of Neil Farrell to the Kansas City Chiefs for a sixth-round pick and waiving Matthew Butler means the Raiders have parted ways with their two defensive tackle draft picks from 2022.
Cutting cornerbacks Duke Shelley and Tyler Hall was unexpected given how much the Raiders were counting on them going into training camp.
Several of the players the Raiders cut will return to their 16-player practice squad this week.
A look at the roster:
Made the cut: Jimmy Garoppolo, Brian Hoyer, Aidan O’Connell
Surprise move: Hoyer will start the season as the No. 2.
Lowdown: It’s only a matter of time before O’Connell replaces Hoyer as the backup. For now, though, it will be Hoyer, who also will mentor O’Connell, a fourth-round pick from Purdue.
Running back/fullback (4)
Made the cut: Josh Jacobs (roster exemption), Zamir White, Brandon Bolden, Ameer Abdullah, Jakob Johnson (FB)
Surprise move: Releasing Damian Williams.
Lowdown: Williams made a big push in the past two weeks to make the team. But with Jacobs and White figuring to get the bulk of the carries and Abdullah the change of pace back, the Raiders opted for the special teams prowess of Bolden over the running skills of Williams.
Wide receiver (6)
Made the cut: Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Hunter Renfrow, DeAndre Carter, Tre Tucker, Kristian Wilkerson
Surprise move: Releasing Phillip Dorsett.
Lowdown: The final roster spot came down to the speed of Dorsett vs. the versatility and upside of Wilkerson, who had a solid preseason. From top to bottom, this is a deep and talented group.
Tight end (3)
Made the cut: Michael Mayer, Austin Hooper, Jesper Horsted
Surprise move: Waiving Cole Fotheringham.
Lowdown: Fotheringham made a strong impression throughout camp and the preseason, but Horsted has been a staff favorite as the third option behind Mayer and Hooper. Fotheringham is a candidate to return on the practice squad.
Offensive line (8)
Made the cut: Kolton Miller (T), Jermaine Eluemunor (T), Dylan Parham (G/C), Greg Van Roten (G), Andre James (C), Thayer Munford (T), Justin Herron (T), Jordan Meredith (G)
Surprise move: Releasing G Alex Bars and waiving guards McClendon Curtis and Netane Muti.
Lowdown: Bars, Curtis and Muti were more the victims of a numbers game than getting decisively beat out. If all three return to the practice squad, the Raiders will have a deep group. Van Roten probably wins the right guard job with Meredith serving as a sub who can play multiple positions.
Defensive line (10)
Made the cut: Maxx Crosby, Bilal Nichols, Chandler Jones, Jerry Tillery, Tyree Wilson, Malcolm Koonce, John Jenkins, Byron Young, Nesta Jade Silvera, Adam Butler
Surprise move: Trading Neil Farrell and waiving Matthew Butler.
Lowdown: Koonce started camp on the bubble, but came on late to secure his roster spot. Trading Farrell and Butler fit with the Raiders’ best-player mentality, as neither showed enough in camp to win a roster spot. Young and Jade Silvera have been impressive, and if Wilson can continue to rebound from a foot injury, the Raiders have a chance to be disruptive on the defensive line.
Made the cut: Divine Deablo, Robert Spillane, Luke Masterson, Curtis Bolton, Amari Burney
Surprise move: Waiving Drake Thomas.
Lowdown: Thomas, an undrafted rookie from North Carolina State, made play after play in the preseason. If he clears waivers, he’s almost a guarantee to return on the practice squad. Bolton has improved his overall play while also showing a knack on special teams. The Raiders are high on Deablo, Spillane and Masterson as their starters, with Burney a young player with upside.
Made the cut: Marcus Peters, Nate Hobbs, Jakorian Bennett, David Long, Brandon Facyson, Amik Robertson
Surprise move: Releasing Duke Shelley and waiving Tyler Hall.
Lowdown: The Raiders had some difficult decisions to make at cornerback, as Shelley and Hall can clearly play in the NFL. Both are candidates to return on the practice squad. This is a much better room than in years past.
Made the cut: Marcus Epps, Tre’von Moehrig, Chris Smith, Roderic Teamer, Isaiah Pola-Mao
Surprise move: Keeping five players at the position.
Lowdown: The Raiders favor three-safety formations, so keeping an extra safety maybe isn’t much of a surprise. Teamer and Pola-Mao are just too good to keep off the roster.
Made the cut: Daniel Carlson (K), AJ Cole (P), Jacob Bobenmoyer (LS)
Surprise move: None.
Lowdown: A no-brainer from the first day of camp.
Here’s a list of the team’s transactions Tuesday:
David Agoha DE
Matthew Butler DT
McClendon Curtis G
Cole Fotheringham TE
Jaydon Grant S
Tyler Hall CB
Azizi Hearn CB
Kana’i Mauga LB
Sincere McCormick RB
Netane Muti G
Adam Plant DE
John Samuel Shenker TE
George Tarlas DE
Drake Thomas LB
Sam Webb CB
Alex Bars G
Keelan Cole Sr. WR
Phillip Dorsett II WR
Hroniss Grasu C
Jaquan Johnson S
Isaac Rochell DE
Duke Shelley CB
Cam Sims WR
Damien Williams RB
Jordan Willis DE
Dalton Wagner T
DT Neil Farrell to Kansas City Chiefs for sixth-round pick