ALAMEDA, Calif. — Cornerback Keisean Nixon didn’t have that moment of elation Saturday that most undrafted rookie free agents experience when they make an NFL roster.
The former South Carolina star expected to make the team.
“I kind of figured I had made it,” he said after practice on Monday. “It wasn’t a big deal or a surprise. It was just another day to go to work. It was just a matter of understanding, ‘OK, now you have your opportunity. Go ball.’”
Nixon has believed he belonged since the day he signed with the Raiders in May, and he has played like it.
The 22-year-old was named to the Pro Football Focus Preseason All-Rookie Team on Tuesday after grading out at 79.1 for his 90 coverage snaps. According to the site, he allowed just five catches on 15 attempts for a 42.4 passer rating.
Nixon, who played in rapper Snoop Dogg’s youth league while growing up in Los Angeles, attributes his ability to quickly adapt at this level to playing in the SEC.
“There’s not really a huge adjustment,” he said. “It’s just about understanding the playbook and the system. Once you get that, it allows you to play faster. Really just take it day by day and understand your role. When you do that, you understand what you need to do and stop worrying about other peoples’ status on the team or where people were drafted.”
Coach Jon Gruden said last week that Nixon was making more plays throughout the preseason than any other cornerback on the roster. He also said the team likes his versatility.
“Nixon was a guy that we identified early as a below-the-radar, core special teams guy,” general manager Mike Mayock said in describing why the team elected to keep him. “He was playing safety at South Carolina. We thought he was a corner.”
Nixon has made Mayock and the scouting department look good so far. Now that he’s in the NFL, his goal is to play for a long time.
He has a simple plan to make sure that happens.
“Make plays,” he said. “It’s that simple.”
Injury settlement for Martin
Running back Doug Martin is a free agent after the Raiders reached an injury settlement with him on Tuesday and released him from injured reserve.
The 30-year-old played in all 16 games last season, including nine starts, and led the team with 723 yards on 172 carries.
It was his first year with the Raiders after six seasons in Tampa Bay.
The team also reached an injury settlement with defensive end Alex Barrett.
Depth chart released
The Raiders released their unofficial Week 1 depth chart on Tuesday with few surprises.
Arden Key is listed as the starter at one defensive end spot. Rookie first-round pick Clelin Ferrell is on the other side. Josh Mauro had been listed ahead of Key throughout the preseason.
As Gruden told the media Monday, Denzelle Good as listed as the top healthy right guard. Injured Gabe Jackson is still penciled in as the starter. Jordan Devey is listed ahead of Jonathan Cooper at left guard. Projected starter Richie Incognito is suspended for the first two games.
Captains to be selected
Gruden said the team will vote on captains at the facility on Wednesday.
Derek Carr and Rodney Hudson have been offensive captains for three consecutive seasons and figure to be again.
Linebacker Kyle Wilber is also in the mix as a returning special teams captain.
Bruce Irvin, Reggie Nelson and Derrick Johnson were voted defensive captains at the start of last season. None are still with the team.