Atkinson, Brent Make Final Push for Raiders Roster

Running back and wide receiver are outstanding in loss to Seahawks in exhibition finale

It was an ugly exhibition game Thursday night, even by exhibition standards, as the Seahawks beat the host Oakland Raiders by a 23-21 score.

For most of the game, it was a boring battle of backups. At halftime, the Raiders held a 2-0 lead. The game only turned interesting late, when young running back George Atkinson III scored a pair of touchdowns, one on a 1-yard run and another on an 81-yard kickoff return.

But for at least three Raiders hoping to make a positive impression in a final test to claim a roster spot, the game produced some positives.

One was undrafted rookie wide receiver K.J. Brent, in competition with Johnny Holton for the fifth and final wide receiver spot on the roster. Brent had his best night of the summer, with four catches for 59 yards. Holton, meanwhile, had just one catch for 6 yards on five targets. Holton has shown more explosiveness, but Brent, the 6-foot-4 former Wake Forest standout, is a big target who has shown good hands.

Tweeted Jimmy Durkin, who covers the Raiders for the Bay Area News Group: “K.J. Brent is making a nice run for the roster here. He’s at least a practice squad addition.”

A second was first-year defensive lineman Darius Latham, who appears headed for the 53-man Game 1 roster. If there were any doubts, he likely erased them with a five-tackle night that included one for loss.

The third was Atkinson.

He was on the bubble in the running back mix going into Thursday night’s exhibition finale, especially with the emergence of rookie Jalen Richard. But on just seven carries, Atkinson again showed his quickness and ability to make people miss, rushing for 56 yards, catching two passes for 5 yards and returning his only kickoff for a long score.

The downside: he lost a fumble.

Will Atkinson’s fine finale earn him a spot on the roster? Will Brent and Latham make it?

The Raiders may make some final-roster announcements beginning Friday.

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