The NFL preseason is officially over. Regular season games are now upon us. With rosters needing to get cut down to 53 players, a lot of guys will be out of a job. The Oakland Raiders had several players show well this pre-season. Some of those players have a chance to stick on the roster. A good showing in the preseason can be what it takes to play on Sundays.
Oakland Raiders Players Who Helped Their Chances This Pre-Season
Oakland selected safety Shalom Luani in this year’s draft. At first, the pick didn’t seem all that special. Just another defensive back that might get some special teams snaps in the preseason. Luani can be so much more that that. The buzz about the former Washington State safety happened early. Luani was turning heads and making plays in practice. During the four games he played, Shalom showed his sharp instincts and big play ability.
Luani has a knack for finding the football and making a play. Shalom almost came down with a pick against the Arizona Cardinals in week one of the preseason. It wasn’t until week four against the Seahawks when he grabbed an interception. Luani also notched 14 tackles this preseason, which is good for second on the team. The rookie even led the team with three passes defended. Luani’s future with the silver and black looks bright. Expectations have risen from being just another camp body, to being very good depth in the defensive backfield.
E.J. Manuel came into Oakland as a free agent hoping to compete with Connor Cook for the backup quarterback job. Now that the season is almost here, it looks like Manuel got the job. Neither quarterback was able to completely outshine the other. Manuel did show an ability to command the offense. Manuel had a strong showing against Arizona in week 1. It looked as though Cook was making up some ground in weeks 2 and 3, but Manuel sealed the deal with a touchdown pass in week 4.
Manuel was expected by many to come in and take the backup quarterback job, and that’s exactly what he did. He did just enough to secure that spot. Oakland just needs to hope Derek Carr stays healthy so that the Raiders don’t have to worry about starting one of their backups.
LaTroy Lewis was a player that was under the radar this offseason. The rookie linebacker from Tennessee didn’t get much attention in practices or training camp. However, when it was time to play some games, Lewis made sure people would remember his name.
In four games, Lewis recorded 14 tackles, which ties Luani for most on the team. He also notched three sacks, which led the entire NFL this preseason, and even returned a fumble for a touchdown. Lewis did it all and has now gone from an unheard of player, to someone that seems like a lock for the practice squad. He may even compete for a spot on the final roster. Oakland’s defense needs all the help it can get this year. Lewis might be able to contribute in that regard.