Keelan Doss was a fan favorite during training camp and the preseason.
This was because Doss is a hometown kid hailing from Alameda, California, and played college ball in Northern California at FCS school UC Davis.
Doss was actually thought highly of in most scouting reports pre-draft, so it was surprising to a lot of people when he went undrafted, which is why he was probably the most sought after UDFA in the league after the draft.
Doss was impressive in the preseason and had a lot of screen time on “HBO’s Hard-Knocks” which had a lot of fans — even non-Raider fans — rooting for him. So when Doss was cut after the final preseason game, fans were pretty upset and surprised.
The young wideout went over to the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad but he was snatched back up later by the Raiders following the release of Antonio Brown with a contract that is unheard of for an undrafted free agent.
Despite that contract showing that Gruden must have seen something in the rookie, he didn’t see the field much during the season only seeing 14 targets on the year.
As an undrafted free agent from a small school playing a position where even the top guys usually don’t put up big numbers, his slow rookie year shouldn’t be a concern.
But at the same time, he didn’t really show anything to believe he has any more potential than most bottom-of-the-depth-chart wideouts.
The team is barren of talent at the receiver position despite Hunter Renfrow being a promising piece going forward, so the Raiders should make moves to address that in free agency or the draft.
This is why there is a good chance Doss won’t even make the active roster next year, barring major improvements.
Keisean Nixon out of South Carolina also did not play enough to be given an actual grade.
He only appeared on defense in three games, versus Kansas City in Week 2, and the second to last game of the season versus the Chargers. Against Kansas City, Nixon put up two tackles and in only seven snaps gave up three big catches — two over 25 yards.
Nixon was demoted and would not see significant playing time again until Week 16 against the Chargers where he punched in 30 snaps and finished with a tackle and deflection.
Nixon was spectacular during the preseason but clearly needed time to develop. He should be back on the squad next year barring major changes at cornerbacklooking to match his preseason performance in the regular season.
Despite only playing in two games, I feel like you can give Andre James a grade since he filled in at a very valuable position at center and played 82 and 100 percent of the snaps in his two appearances.
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Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson came out early with an injury against the Texans and James filled in admirably in his absence for the remainder of the game.
James played offensive tackle in college so being able to come in at center — which is the complete opposite of playing outside as a tackle — was a tall task, and he succeeded in that task.
The rookie started the full game against the Detroit Lions and had a couple of low snaps that Derek Carr struggled to get a hold of, but neither was lost.
James was battling his own injury that week and only participated in one practice. Learning a completely new position on the fly isn’t an easy thing to do especially without getting reps in, so I will not give him too much grief for that, which is why it didn’t affect his grade much.
The offensive line only gave up a single sack against Detroit and James’ blocking was solid. James’ future with the Raiders should be all but guaranteed considering his versatility giving the team the ability to move him around based on the injuries the offensive line sustains.
He obviously won’t be dethroning Rodney Hudson anytime soon, but I expect him to move up the depth chart going into next season.
Average GPA: 3.22