Ten Raiders on the bubble: five make cut, five don't

Ten Raiders on the bubble: five make cut, five don't
August 30, 2014, 7:15 pm
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Dennis Allen is 8-24 over his two-year tenure as the Raiders' head coach. (USATSI)

Programming note: For complete coverage of the Raiders roster cuts tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 5:30 p.m., 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

It’s hard to call any of the 22 released by the Raiders a surprise.

There were some guys on the bubble who fell on either side of the 53-man roster cut line.

Here’s a look at why five players made it and why five others didn’t:

Making the cut:

Receiver Brice Butler
The second-year pro from San Diego State had an excellent offseason and training camp where he earned the right to remain a Raider. He had 13 catches for a whopping 206 yards and four touchdowns. He worked out with Calvin Johnson in the offseason, and the effort clearly paid off.

Linebacker Kaelin Burnett
The strongside linebacker was in danger of losing his roster spot, but proved his worth with a strong preseason both as a defender and a special teams player.

Safety Jonathan Dowling
The seventh-round pick could’ve been a practice squad target, but the Raiders didn’t want to risk losing him on the waiver wire. While he’s something of the project and could use to bulk, he’ll be a serviceable backup as a rookie.

Defensive end Shelby Harris
Missing a full year of football after being dismissed from Northern Illinois, Harris seemed like a long shot to get drafted and to make the Raiders after he was. Harris made the most of his opportunity. While he could use more pass-rushing moves, he’ll be a solid power rusher at the back of the line rotation.

Receiver Denarius Moore
After a number of underwhelming seasons, Moore seemed to be on the bubble to start camp. He emerged as a real threat in the second half of the preseason, flashing vast potential he’s never consistently realized and now enters the regular season with a real chance to be a major contributor.

Just missing out:

Strong safety Brandian Ross
Ross made 14 starts for the Raiders in 2013, filling in for injured starter Tyvon Branch, but struggled with such a large role. Ross was competitive in this preseason, but the Raiders chose Dowling’s potential over Ross’ experience.

Receiver Greg Little
The Raiders had high hopes for Little after claiming him off waivers this offseason from the Cleveland Browns. Little was notorious for dropping passes, and he never shook that label during camp. A lack of consistency ultimately did him in.

Defensive end Jack Crawford
The fifth-round pick in 2012 had a few years left on his contract, but the Raiders didn’t have space for him after making significant upgrades to the defensive line through free agency.

Running back Jeremy Stewart
The Stanford alum was a special teams standout last season, but his lack of offensive prowess eventually cost him a roster spot. The Raiders could’ve kept an extra running back with special teams focus, but they padded other spots -– they kept seven cornerbacks -– with injuries. He might be back when other positions get healthy again.

Running back George Atkinson III
The son of Raiders legend George Atkinson had a chance to make an impact as a return man on a team that didn’t have one, but he struggled with ball security. He’s likely headed for the practice squad, where a year of development could make him worthy of a 53-man roster spot.