Oakland Raiders Preseason: Week 4 Stock Report

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2015

Oakland Raiders Preseason: Week 4 Stock Report

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    This is the final Oakland Raiders stock report before the coaching staff finalizes the roster prior to the regular season.

    The Raiders face some difficult cuts September 5 when the active roster drops to 53 players. The final preseason game will likely feature players battling for backup roles, which come into play as injuries accumulate during the season.

    This final stock report consists of players capable of stepping in for injured starters or those who need more work before the season kicks off.

    One name on this list may surprise you, but he’s hurting his chances while attempting to make up ground behind more impressive players in exhibition. An offseason standout struggled through three games and stumbled upon old bad habits creeping back into his game.

    Which players rose to the occasion over the past couple of weeks, and who’s sinking?

Seth Roberts: Stock Up

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    No. 10 Seth Roberts
    No. 10 Seth RobertsHannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Wide receiver Seth Roberts didn’t cross the minds of many Raiders fans heading into the preseason, but you cannot ignore three weeks of solid contributions.

    Roberts leads all Raiders wideouts in receiving yards (133), per Pro Football Focus. He’s dangerous once he establishes possession with 82 yards after the catch. He also poses a threat deep downfield streaking on the outside with functional speed. His attributes directly translate into a solid slot receiver.

    The Division II West Alabama product looks to follow the pathway of former teammates Rod Streater and Andre Holmes from undrafted obscurity to the big stage on Sundays.

    Thus far, live action doesn’t shrink his game. He’s far from polished, but the coaching staff got a glimpse of what he brings to the field.

    It’s not a far-fetched idea that Roberts makes the final 53-man roster. Two of his competitors at the position, Josh Harper and Kenbrell Thompkins, failed to survive the first round of cuts.

Rod Streater: Stock Down

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    No. 80 Rod Streater shaken up with an injury
    No. 80 Rod Streater shaken up with an injuryAssociated Press

    Streater battled an unknown illness at the beginning of the preseason that sidelined him for the first game. Upon his return, the Raiders force fed extra snaps to the fourth-year receiver in an effort to get him up to speed with the offense. The approach doesn’t seem effective.

    Streater led all wide receivers in snaps over the last two games, and he converted four receptions out of eight targets. Streater clearly dropped two passes and narrowly escaped injury in a scary situation when his leg tangled awkwardly under his body.

    He hoped to regain a spot as the slot receiver, and that’s in question with Brice Butler’s third consecutive impressive preseason. Streater’s health and on-field struggles break daylight for Butler in a more prominent role within the offense.

    Head coach Jack Del Rio values production over veteran status. That clearly explains why Thompkins got the ax and Roberts still remains with the team.

    Streater could drop to the No. 4 spot at wide receiver, while Butler takes over in three-receiver sets with the starters in Week 1.

Mario Edwards Jr.: Stock Up

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    Mario Edwards Jr.
    Mario Edwards Jr.Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Did defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. awake the beast in rookie Mario Edwards Jr.?

    Edwards leads the defense in sacks. He’s a huge component within an aggressive Raiders defense that ranks first in the pass rush during the preseason, calculated by Pro Football Focus.

    The former Florida State defensive lineman shows a mix of power and speed. Oh, you don’t believe it? Just ask Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, who stood inside a defensive whirlwind between Edwards and Khalil Mack.

    The Raiders' second-round selection that brought Edwards to Alameda led to major question marks about his pass-rushing skills. To an extent, he’s answered those critics in the preseason.

    As the expected successor to Justin Tuck at defensive end, he’s making a solid claim to earn a rotational spot at some point during the season.

    However, shaking the label of inconsistency takes more than two preseason games. Norton and defensive line coach Jethro Franklin must keep the pressure on him so he doesn’t fall into complacency.

Ray-Ray Armstrong: Stock Down

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    No. 57 Ray-Ray Armstrong misses the tackle
    No. 57 Ray-Ray Armstrong misses the tackleTony Avelar/Associated Press

    An impressive minicamp and satisfactory practices helped thrust outside linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong into a starting role due to Mack’s transition to defensive end and Sio Moore’s hip injury.

    Armstrong shrinks when practice ends and real competition steps on the field. To make matters worse, he continues to commit penalties. Although two out of three penalties were declined or offset, it points to a bigger problem that’s plagued Armstrong in the first two years of his pro career.

    According to ESPN's Bill Williamson, Del Rio "has lauded Armstrong's growth and maturity." But thus far, the third-year linebacker comes up short with his undisciplined play.

    Armstrong started as a defensive back for Miami (Fla.) before transitioning to linebacker in the NFL. Apparently, he’s lost quite a bit of his coverage skills as opposing quarterbacks pick him apart. He surrendered six catches out of eight targets for 52 yards.

    It’s very likely Armstrong falls back into a reserve role once the regular season kicks off. He’s too much of a liability in coverage and still struggles with penalties.

Denico Autry: Stock Up

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    No. 96 Denico Autry pressuring Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater
    No. 96 Denico Autry pressuring Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy BridgewaterJim Mone/Associated Press

    Defensive end Denico Autry is still eligible for the practice squad, but he’s pushing for a spot on the active roster, literally. Autry doesn’t have a sack, but he’s accounted for five quarterback hurries in the preseason.

    The coaching staff is taking an extensive look at the second-year defensive end out of Mississippi State. Rookie hybrid defensive lineman Max Valles hasn’t shown much potential, which bodes well for Autry’s opportunity to contribute during the regular season.

    Autry’s ability to play defensive end and inside as an interior lineman puts him in competition with Shelby Harris, C.J. Wilson, Stacy McGee and Ricky Lumpkin at either position. Thus far, production falls in Autry’s favor, but there’s still one game left to play.

Matt McGloin: Stock Up

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    No. 14 Matt McGloin
    No. 14 Matt McGloinAndy King/Associated Press

    Let’s hope the Raiders put politics and past history aside to decide who’s fit for the No. 2 quarterback position behind starter Derek Carr.

    Expect to see a lot of Christian Ponder and Matt McGloin in the fourth preseason game after Carr establishes some sort of rhythm with the starting offense.

    To this point, McGloin has clearly outplayed Ponder for the primary backup role. Yes, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and Ponder know each other from their history with the Minnesota Vikings, and that failed. Please, let it go.

    McGloin nearly led the Raiders on a comeback trail late in the fourth quarter in Week 3. He steps on the field and throws with confidence. His play perks up the offense, and his receivers prosper from his pinpoint accuracy.

    He completed 78.8 percent of his passes and provides the spark that’s expected when a backup takes over for a starter who may struggle or sit with an injury. A starting quarterback needs a solid backup to push him, and Ponder doesn’t check that box.

    Once upon a time, McGloin moved the ball as a rookie with Streater and Denarius Moore as his top two options. He has less starting experience and didn’t have the draft status of Ponder, but he’s showing up as a far better gamer on the field.

    All statistics are provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com, Sports-Reference.com and Pro Football Focus unless otherwise noted.

    Raiders roster cuts provided by Raiders.com.

    Follow Maurice Moton on Twitter for Raiders news and updates.

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