West Potomac graduate De’Mornay Pierson-El continues to make his case for a roster spot with the Oakland Raiders, catching six passes Thursday against Green Bay — including his first touchdown of the preseason.
Pierson El’s touchdown came in the fourth quarter and put the Raiders in position to have a shot at winning after trailing much of the game. Quarterback Nathan Peterman found Pierson-El after he beat man-to-man coverage on a corner route. The 17-yard TD was Pierson El’s third catch on the scoring drive.
Pierson-El also had a 17-yard punt return that he nearly broke loose on in the Raiders’ 23-22 comeback win against the Packers.
A 2014 West Potomac grad, Pierson-El was a standout football and basketball player for the Wolverines before going to the University of Nebraska. Pierson-El was slowed by injuries during his time with the Huskers, but he managed to impress enough as a receiver and punt returner to get a shot at the Washington Redskins training camp after graduating in 2018.
Pierson-El was released by the Redskins, but kept pursing a pro career. He played for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes for a stint and then with the AAF’s Salt Lake City Stallions earlier this year. Pierson-El had a strong showing for the Stallions during the league’s short run and was signed by the Raiders before the NFL training camp season started.
It remains to be seen if Pierson-El will make the regular season roster. NFL teams must cut their rosters to 53 players by August 31. As an undrafted free agent, Pierson-El started camp as an underdog to make the final roster, but he now ranks second on the team in receiving during the preseason and has handled all of the Raiders punt return duties.
One problem facing Pierson-El is that the Raiders have a deep receiving corps, with Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, rookie Hunter Renfrow and Dwayne Harris considered locks to make he final roster. Veteran Ryan Grant is still in the competition to be the Raiders starting slot receiver, and other young players like Keelan Doss have also impressed.
Harris is expected to handle the Raiders’ return duties once the regular season starts, but Pierson-El has nevertheless been able to showcase his versatility there. In addition to his long return on Thursday, Pierson-El had an electrifying punt return against the Los Angeles Rams in the Raiders’ first preseason game.