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First-Year Raider Evaluations: Keelan Cole

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Keelan Cole played in 14 games in his first season with the club.

Much of the focus regarding the Las Vegas Raiders' passing game heading into the 2022 season was centered around Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller.

There wasn't much talk about what the supporting class would look like, as much of the wide receiver room had changed over the off-season.

One of the newest faces brought on board was Keelan Cole, who at the time, had been a five-year NFL veteran looking to prove that he still belonged in the league.

Cole was a reliable option for the New York Jets the season before, having made 11 starts in 14 game appearances.

Before his lone season with New York, he spent the first four seasons of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

After being waived by the Raiders as part of the final 53-man roster cuts, Las Vegas signed Cole to the practice squad days later.

Cole was signed to the active roster on Sept. 14.

From there, the wideout appeared in 14 of the Raiders' 17 games while making three starts.

Cole made only three receptions in his first four games, yet each one had resulted in 12-plus yards.

In the Raiders' Week 11 victory over the Denver Broncos, Cole rose to the occasion with a crucial 21-yard reception on Las Vegas' final drive of the fourth quarter that eventually led to the game-tying field goal to force overtime.

Again, Cole would play an instrumental role in one of the team's wins in Week 15 against the New England Patriots when he recorded two 25-yard receptions, including the touchdown in the final minute of regulation that would ultimately force overtime.

Cole might not have been as impactful as he was used to being with the Jets, but his experience proved vital when he was called upon in big moments and he was able to execute.

The 2023 NFL Draft will go from April 27-29 and be held at Union Station in Kansas City, Mo. The NFL Scouting Combine is Feb. 28-March 6, 2023, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. On March 7, 2023, before 4 p.m. EST is the club's deadline to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

March 13-15 is the free agent negotiation period. Starting at 12 p.m. EST on March 13 and ending at 3:59:59 p.m. EST on March 15, clubs are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2022 Player Contracts at 4 p.m. EST on March 15.

The 2023 NFL Year and Free Agency period begins at 4 p.m. EST on March 15. The Raiders are expected to be significant players in the free agent market this season.

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