Wake is now 10 months removed from his torn achilles tendon that ended his 2015 campaign, and he appears to be making good progress. It's rare for teams to play one of their better players in a preseason game when they aren't totally healthy, so Wake's play on Thursday is an encouraging sign that he's nearing full health, even if he's not there yet. He isn't expected to miss any regular season time due to the injury, even as he continues through the final stages of rehab and recovery.
Spaight took just nine snaps his rookie season before it all came to an end, but the linebacker from Arkansas is now back at full strength and hungry to make an impact. He's competing for reps with veteran Will Compton. Head coach Jay Gruden said of the situation, "Spaight's getting back into the groove and playing well and communicating well. We feel really good about that linebacker spot having two of them that can make the calls. How much (Spaight's) going to play on game day - Monday night - I don't know yet, but I think throughout the course of the a 16-game season, he's going to get plenty of playing time." Look for Spaight to take the field several times with the first-team defense on Monday, as well as on special teams coverage.
Clayborn was scheduled for an MRI on Friday, after injuring his shoulder during Thursday's preseason game against the Dolphins. He's expected to start at left defensive end, but he may lose a lot of snaps to Brooks Reed and/or Dwight Freeney.
At six-foot, 231 pounds there remain questions regarding Heeney's ability to excel at the position due to being undersized, particularly against the run. The Raiders take on the Titans in their third preseason game Saturday, so Heeney figures to get plenty of reps against their run-first offense. Throughout the 2015 season the 23-year-old racked up 38 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and one forced fumble in 15 games and those numbers figure to rise.
Autry missed time early in the offseason due to a wrist injury, resulting in spotty play throughout the preseason thus far. He still has the talent to earn the starting spot, however, but he'll have to impress the coaches on Saturday when the Raiders take on the Titans in their third exhibition contest.
Allen figures to get plenty of reps throughout the Raiders' third exhibition contest, with usual starter Reggie Nelson (knee) likely sidelined. Allen has impressed throughout the preseason thus far and he intends to play a key depth role at both safety spots upon Nelson's return to action.
Whitner totaled 187 tackles over his two-year stint with the Browns, but was released by the team in April. With the Panthers losing safety Roman Harper to the Saints this offseason, Tre Boston has been promoted to their starting position, so signing Whitner would restore a veteran presence to help the depth of Carolina's secondary.
Removed from the PUP list last week, Mathieu has already progressed to 11-on-11 padded drills, potentially setting him up for a 2016 preseason debut Sunday evening. The Cardinals haven't said for certain whether he'll play in Sunday's game, and it's still unclear if Mathieu will be available Week 1. Although he's made quick progress, both player and team have emphasized the importance of a cautious approach, as Mathieu had a down season when he previously returned from a torn ACL in 2014.
Signed in mid-July after considering retirement during the offseason, Durant worked behind Anthony Hitchens through the first two weeks of the preseason. However, the 30-year-old Durant still has a shot to enter Week 1 as a starter, potentially even working in a three-down role. It's still a long shot, but there is some chance Durant could be a serviceable IDP option for the first time since early in the 2014 season.
The decision to keep the veteran out of the lineup shouldn't bring too much concern as it is not related to any serious injury. Look for Stephen Paea and Ziggy Hood to see increased action with Baker on the sidelines Friday night.