Oakland Raiders: Breaking down each member of the 10-man practice squad

Raiders (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Raiders (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Oakland Raiders
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – AUGUST 15: Wide receiver Marcell Ateman #88 of the Oakland Raiders makes a reception against defensive back Nate Brooks #41 of the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of the NFL preseason game at State Farm Stadium on August 15, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. Oakland Raiders (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

3. Marcell Ateman, WR

Marcell Ateman was the first of two returning receivers from last year’s team to be placed on the practice squad. Ateman was selected in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft and played sparingly in his rookie season.

The Oklahoma State product hauled in 15 catches for 154 yards last year after originally beginning the season on the practice squad. At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Ateman has the size to create mismatches with opposing defensive backs.

We saw glimpses of that in the preseason as he made eight grabs for 101 yards this summer. With the deep Raiders receiving core, it’s no surprise that Ateman couldn’t snag a roster spot.

But it’s at least encouraging to see that the team hasn’t given up on his development just yet.

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4. Rico Gafford, WR

Aside from Ateman, Rico Gafford is the other wide receiver signed to the practice squad who spent time on the active roster last season — albeit briefly.

After a short stint with the Tennessee Titans in preseason after going undrafted, the converted cornerback played in one game with the Raiders in December playing exclusively on special teams.

Gafford has blazing speed and even though he’s still learning the nuances of the position, he’s a worthwhile player to keep around of the practice squad. His impressive preseason showing that included a 53-yard bomb from Mike Glennon in the second preseason game certainly helped matters.

Perhaps we will see Gafford up with the active roster once again this season. But for now, it makes sense to develop him some more on the practice squad.