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Las Vegas Raiders stock report after Week 1 preseason win vs. Vikings

Moe Moton

The Las Vegas Raiders made their preseason debut at Allegiant Stadium and left with a 26-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings. They continued their theme of playing disciplined football with a balanced offensive attack.

Several players and patterns jumped off the screen immediately and on slow-motion replay, other aspects of the team stood out.

The Raiders had a mixed-bag performance, more good than bad, but the team must take a look at some problematic areas with the first round of roster cuts coming up on Tuesday and Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers less than four weeks away.

Who moved the needle Sunday against the Vikings? Which players may have an uphill climb for a roster spot or playing time on the active roster?

Before we dig into players with rising or falling stocks, you’ll notice offensive lineman Thayer Munford Jr. isn’t listed below.

With a close examination of Munford’s performance, he had an OK outing. But the rookie seventh-rounder didn’t do anything to put himself in the front-running position for the starting right tackle job. He needed time to settle in, which is expected, and benefitted from occasional help on his side of the line.

He can become a quality backup on the 53-man roster this year, but the Raiders shouldn’t feel comfortable with him in a full-time starting role right now. The Ohio State product needs more time to develop at the position.

Related: 5 key takeaways from Las Vegas Raiders’ preseason win over the Minnesota Vikings

Stock up: Edge Malcolm Koonce

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Do you remember the last time the Raiders drafted a pass-rusher out of Buffalo? OK, let’s not get too carried away, but Malcolm Koonce looks ready for a second-year leap.

In the Hall of Fame Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Koonce recorded three pressures, per Pro Football Focus. On Sunday, he made his presence felt at the line of scrimmage once again. The Buffalo product generated pressure and logged a sack.

Three weeks ago, Vegas placed edge-rusher Kyler Fackrell on injured reserve. With Clelin Ferrell out because of an undisclosed injury, Koonce has made a strong case to become the third pass-rusher behind Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. No one should be surprised if he gets a lot more snaps than the first-rounder from the 2019 draft. Koonce has been active in games, and Ferrell still needs to find an identity within a new defense under play-caller Patrick Graham.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders standing in Sportsnaut’s preseason NFL power rankings

Stock down: Las Vegas Raiders run defense

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

In the second quarter, the Raiders allowed the Vikings to gash their run defense, giving up chunk yardage on the ground. Vegas allowed 5.2 yards per rush attempt to Minnesota.

Thus far, the two rookies on the interior, Neil Farrell Jr. and Matthew Butler, haven’t taken full advantage of extra reps while Johnathan Hankins and Bilal Nichols recover from injuries on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. They’ve been relatively quiet on the defensive front.

Kyle Peko and Andrew Billings combined for a few solid wins at line of scrimmage, but they each had just one tackle Sunday. That’s not going to cut it once opposing teams field full starting lineups and turn up the heat on the Raiders’ front line.

Nichols and Hankins have until August 23 to come off the PUP list or else they must miss the first four weeks of the regular season. The Raiders need both of them back, and general manager Dave Ziegler may want to add another veteran defensive tackle for good measure.

Just remember, Ndamukong Suh is still available, though he may cost $7-8 million. His last three one-year deals with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranged from $8-9.25 million, per Spotrac.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders schedule and game-by-game predictions

Stock up: Quarterback Nick Mullens

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Jarrett Stidham won Round 1 of the battle between the backup quarterbacks. Nick Mullens came back to take Round 2.

While Stidham played through the first half, the Raiders moved the ball with the help of Vikings penalties. The offense averaged just three yards per play through the first 30 minutes. Mullens entered in the second half and made some plays with his arm and legs.

Mullens engineered a touchdown drive with his first possession, capping a 79-yard sequence with a pass to wideout DJ Turner, who outran defenders on a 34-yard touchdown play. The 27-year-old signal-caller also moved the chains for a first down with a nine-yard run into the red zone late in the third quarter. Five plays later, rookie seventh-round running back Brittain Brown punched the ball past the goal line on the ground for a one-yard touchdown.

Stidham had a rushing score, but on the same play, he missed a wide-open Kenyan Drake for a touchdown.

Based on preseason performances, the backup quarterback battle is even.

Related: Updated NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

Stock down: Las Vegas Raiders running back Kenyan Drake

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

If Stidham saw Drake waving his hands and moving across the middle of the field, the seventh-year running back would’ve had a touchdown reception in addition to 32 scrimmage yards (15 rushing and 17 receiving).

Drake didn’t make any glaring mistakes against the Vikings, but he played a fair number of snaps while Ameer Abdullah took zero snaps. Typically, between quality backups, the player who gets the most work doesn’t have a secure spot on the roster. In other words, the team showcases him for a possible trade.

While we cannot assume that the Raiders put Drake on the field to raise his trade value, MMQB’s Albert Breer believes Abdullah has a lead for the “James White” role as the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield:

If Drake has to battle Abdullah for a roster spot, the latter seems to have the upper hand right now.

Keep in mind that the Las Vegas Raiders would still have to pay Drake $3.6 million with only $250,000 in savings if they release him, though the club would recoup $2.75 million in savings and pay $1.1 million in dead money if it trades him, per Over the Cap. Meanwhile, Abdullah is on the books for just $1.05 million this year.

Based on salary-cap implications, any trade buzz around Drake absolutely makes sense.

Related: Evaluating 5 best free agents to address Las Vegas Raiders’ offensive tackle situation

Stock up: Wide receiver DJ Turner

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders Training Camp
Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

We didn’t see any separation in the battle for the WR3 spot Sunday. Demarcus Robinson, Keelan Cole, and Mack Hollins all had big catches for at least 15 yards.

However, Turner made case for a spot on the 53-man roster. He flashed the speed that the team needs at wide receiver on his 34-yard touchdown reception and contributed on special teams with a 26-yard punt return.

In just about every case, back-end roster guys at wide receiver must add some value on special teams. Turner made plays in two phases of the game, which likely caught the eye of head coach Josh McDaniels and special team coach Tom McMahon.

Stock down: CB Amik Robertson

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Las Vegas Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Amik Robertson didn’t help himself at all. He bit on a play-action fake, giving up chunk yardage through the air and then a few plays later, drew the team’s first penalty, a holding call.

Though many people point out the disadvantages of Robertson’s size, his missteps against the Vikings had nothing to do with his 5-foot-8, 187-pound stature.

McDaniels isn’t going to have much patience with mental errors as he drills his team on details at practices. Robertson may have torpedoed his shot to hang on to a reserve spot with two glaring miscues in Sunday’s game.

Stock up: Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Sam Webb

With Robertson’s time with the Raiders possibly running out, undrafted rookie Sam Webb may have his foot in the door.

Unlike Robertson, Webb has the prototypical size to play on the boundary, listing at 6’0”, 202 pounds on the team’s official website. He looked the part on Sunday, recording one of two pass breakups for the defense (linebacker Jayon Brown had the other one).

With a look at all of Webb’s snaps against the Vikings, he didn’t allow a catch. The Missouri Western State product also had three tackles (one solo).

Darien Butler likely still leads all undrafted rookies in terms of playmaking impact in preseason action, but Webb has put himself on the radar with his Sunday performance.

If the Raiders waive Robertson and have to go into the regular season without Trayvon Mullen Jr., Rock Ya-Sin or Anthony Averett, who are all recovering from injuries, Webb may have a chance to make the final roster.

Maurice Moton covers the Raiders for Sportsnaut. You can follow him on Twitter at @MoeMoton.