Programming note: Tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 6, 10:30 p.m. and midnight to meet Raiders rookie Jack Crawford, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!
It would not be fair to label Jack Crawford as a project at defensive end, though it might actually be closer to the truth than not.The Raiders' fifth-round draft choice, after all, played at college football factory Penn State. But Crawford, who is featured on CSN Bay Area SportsNet Central's "Meet the Rookies" segment Thursday night, was more of a basketball player growing up in London. Yes, across the pond.So while there is no real hurry for the Raiders to see Crawford become a true presence, they do see him contributing this season."Hes big, athletic, runs really well," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said after the Raiders drafted Crawford. "And hes had some production, and so again we look for versatility in guys and we try to find roles for specific guys and I think as you look at him, as we get a chance to work with him, I think were going to be able to define a pretty good role for him."Truth be told, Crawford did not stand out much in the OTAs and minicamps open to the media, other than being, at 6-foot-5, 274 pounds, a physical specimen. But he was not being taken to the woodshed either during the helmets and shorts practices.So much more will be revealed with Crawford, one of the more intriguing rookies on the entire roster, when the players put the pads on and start hitting in training camp."Thats the one thing about me, I always feel like I have room to improve," Crawford said. "Thats my mindset. And thats whats gotten me to where I am now."I think the biggest thing I'm trying to show is that, I think physically I'm just as able as any other defensive end in the draft and I think that whatever they need me to do, whatever they want me to do, I'm not going to stop working until I get to that point where they're satisfied and I'm satisfied with my performance. I really want to bring a lot to the table and I think that I'm happy that I got drafted, but for me this is the beginning. This is where I have to improve myself so I can help the Raiders and hopefully help us win the Super Bowl."