In the wake of Darrius Heyward-Bey neck strain and concussion suffered against the Steelers, the Oakland Raiders have signed wide receiver Tori Gurley to the practice squad, who is another ex-Green Bay Packer brought by GM Reggie McKenzie. The Raiders also have cut second-year offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale, a former 3rd round pick in 2011, creating one open spot in the active roster.
Tori Gurley signed as an undrafted free agent with the Packers in 2011. The 6’4, 232 wide out played his college career for South Carolina, where he caught 42 balls for 416 yards and 4 TDs in his senior year. He spent the 2011 season in the Green Bay’s practice squad, being released on August 31th 2012. A day later, he agreed to join the Vikings’ practice squad, a team that tried to sign him off the Packers’ the year before, but Gurley opted to stay in Green Bay. He then got waived on September 18th. He hasn’t appeared in a regular season game so far in his career. Gurley is regarded as a developmental player who plays agressively and has great size for the position, willing to work the middle of the field, but has to improve his abilities to catch the ball consistently and beat press coverages. He will wear number 19 and replaces DT Vaughn Meatoga in the practice squad.
Joseph Barksdale joins cornerbacks Demarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa as former 2011 draft picks that are no longer in the active roster. Chekwa is currently in the practice squad and Van Dyke is now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 6’4, 325 offensive tackle out of LSU was drafted by a regime who favored a power blocking scheme and was never able to properly adjust to the new zone blocking system. After a lackluster training camp and pre-season, he fell behind on the depth chart and was never able to push Khalif Barnes for the starting right tackle job. Even though he made the final 53-men roster, he was a healthy inactive for all 3 games so far this season due to coaches’ decision. When Khalif Barnes was forced to miss time with a groin injury, the Raiders decided to start recently signed Willie Smith instead of Barksdale. In the last depth chart uptade released this week, Barksdale was no longer listed as the primary backup in any of the tackle spots, being replaced by Smith at RT and rookie Tony Bergstrom (who also handles the backup left guard duty) at the LT spot.